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book is an attempt to treat the life of 
-- James the Lord s brother with the fulness and 
thoroughness which its importance demands, and thus 
to make a contribution to the settlement of some of 
the most difficult problems belonging to the history 
of the primitive Church. I do not know any work 
which covers the same ground. 

It will be seen that I am convinced of the genuine 
ness of the Epistle of James, and of the trustworthiness 
of the notices concerning him which occur in the Acts, 
and that I regard these as substantially the only true 
sources for his opinions and career. In many of the 
ablest works on the apostolic age, whether in our own 
or in other languages, the James delineated is the 
James of legend and romance rather than the James 
of history ; and hence the James drawn in these pages, 
who is neither a Nazirite nor an ascetic, will wear an 
unfamiliar aspect to many. But I can form no con 
ception of a James who is at once the James of the 
Epistle and the Acts and the James of Hegesippus. 
The chapter on the Congress at Jerusalem is that 
which has cost me most pains. The subject has been 


before my mind more or less for thirty years, and I 
am not aware of any treatise which solves all the 
difficulties connected with it. Nor do I regard my 
own account as final. But I have tried to look at 
the actors in that Assembly as I would look at 
ecclesiastical statesmen in the same position to-day. 
It is to me simply inconceivable that men of the 
capacity and judgment of Peter, James, and John on 
the one hand, and of Paul and Barnabas on the other, 
should have failed to frame a measure adapted to the 
case of the Church of Antioch in which the question 
of the necessity of circumcision was first raised. Yet 
many scholars of note, especially on the Continent, 
assert that the decision of the Congress had no 
reference whatsoever to the case of the Church of 
Antioch. Surely it is the duty of any historical 
criticism worthy of the name to give the leaders of 
the Christian Church at least some credit for the 
possession of ordinary foresight and wisdom. 

The conclusion reached in these pages, that the 
Christianity of James was in essence identical with 
that of Paul, and that the relations between these 
great leaders were frank and cordial, will hardly 
be disputed by anyone who duly appreciates the 
contents of the Epistle. That there were vital 
differences of conviction between James and Paul, 
is a dream of the historical imagination. At the 
same time, each had his own characteristic modes of 
thought and language, and neither can be measured 
by the thoughts or language of the other. 


It is a pleasure to confess my obligations to the 
writers who have preceded me in the treatment of 
one branch or another of my subject. My chief 
aim has been to understand the authorities and their 
significance, and so to reconstruct the world of thought 
and action in which James moved ; and with this end 
in view I have examined them again and again, and 
have tested my results by those of others. I have 
sought help from every available quarter, and have 
learned much from authors whose view of the 
apostolic age seems to me defective and misleading, 
like Weizsacker, Harnack, Holtzmann, and McGiffert 
(to name later scholars only), as well as from those 
whose opinions stand nearer to my own, as Lightfoot, 
Farrar, Hort, Zahn, Ramsay, and Bartlet. The com 
mentaries of Beyschlag and Mayor have proved of the 
highest utility. From the nature of the case it is 
my dissent from, rather than my agreement with, the 
conclusions of other writers which appears as a rule 
when names are mentioned. But this dissent must 
not be regarded as indicating other than the utmost 
respect for the powers and achievements of many of 
those whose views I contest. To refer to Lightfoot 
and Hort only. I am persuaded that Lightfoot has 
misjudged the evidence of the New Testament and of 
the earliest Christian tradition on the question of the 
Lord s brethren, and I cannot follow Hort in believing 
that James was received into the number of the 
Twelve, or that his Epistle is later than those of Paul 
dealing with the question of justification. But I do 


not therefore hesitate to say that nowhere will the 
student of the apostolic and sub-apostolic age find 
wiser or surer guidance than in the writings of these 
eminent scholars. 

I desire to thank my colleague, Mr. J. S. Will, B.A., 
for his kindness in reading the proofs and preparing 
the excellent index. 

January 9, 1906. 









AT JERUSALEM ..... 76 



ANTIOCH ...... 188 

SALEM ...... 206 









BY PAUL? . . . .321 



OF JAMES . . 346 

INDEXES .... .361 




nnHESE pages relate the life of James the brother 
* of our Lord. The phrase " brother of the Lord " 
is used by St. Paul (Gal I 19 ), and was probably the 
designation by which James was best known. The 
first question connected with his life is to ascertain 
the force of this phrase. Is the expression to be 
accepted in its obvious sense ? When James is called 
the brother of the Lord, is it meant that he was our 
Lord s full brother ? Or, on the other hand, may it 
only affirm that he was a step-brother or merely a 
cousin ? These three views, to say nothing of various 
modifications and combinations of them, have com 
manded wide support throughout the Church, and 
therefore deserve to be carefully examined. 

To an ordinary reader of the Gospels our Lord s 

brothers seem to be children of Joseph and Mary 

born after Himself. This is the first impression left 

by a study of the passages concerned, and it is con- 



firmed by every fresh investigation. No other 
explanation is so natural, so obvious, or so evidently 
required by the statements of the Gospels. 

The language of the Gospels regarding the birth of 
our Lord suggests and almost requires the conclusion 
that Mary bore children to Joseph after our Lord s 
birth. It is stated in Matthew s Gospel (I 25 ) that 
" Joseph took unto him his wife ; and knew her not 
till she had brought forth a son." This expression 
implies that Joseph and Mary lived together as 
husband and wife, and consequently that those who 
are described as our Lord s brothers were really such. 
An ordinary reader puts no other interpretation on 
the passage ; and certainly the last idea that would 
occur to him is that Joseph and Mary lived together 
as if unmarried. Had the Evangelist intended to 
say this, why did he use words that convey exactly 
the opposite impression ? A writer wishing merely 
to affirm that our Lord was supernaturally born 
(Lightfoot, Galatians, 263) would have expressed 
himself very differently. He would have carefully 
avoided the use of language which plainly implies 
what on this view he did not believe, and conse 
quently could not have meant to say. 

Again, our Lord is described (Lk 2 7 ) as Mary s 
firstborn son. When the Gospel of Luke was written, 
it was well known whether Mary had other sons or 
not. The author of the Gospel, had he been aware 
that our Lord was her only son, could hardly have 
described Him as firstborn. As the phrase stands, it 


evidently suggests that Mary had other children 
besides our Lord. It is true that firstborn taken 
by itself does not imply the birth of other children ; 
but Luke when he wrote knew whether other children 
were subsequently borne by Mary or not, and, had 
he believed that she had had no child except our 
Lord, he would almost certainly have used the un 
ambiguous term only begotten/ a term with which 
he was familiar. It is not satisfactory to say (Light- 
foot, Galatians, 263) that the prominent idea conveyed 
by the term " firstborn " to a Jew is not the birth of 
other children, but the special consecration of the first ; 
for a notion of this kind is foreign to a plain historical 
statement like that of Luke. 

Once more, the language of the inhabitants of 
Nazareth (Mt 13 54 " 56 ) is almost inexplicable on any 
other supposition. Here our Lord is described as the 
carpenter s son. His mother s name is mentioned, 
His brothers names are given, His sisters also are 
referred to. Is it not self-evident that to the 
citizens of Nazareth Joseph was our Lord s father, 
Mary His mother, and His brothers and sisters the 
children of Joseph and Mary ? 

Such, then, is the direct Scripture evidence imply 
ing that children were born to Joseph and Mary. Not 
a few statements in the Gospels confirm this result. 
The brethren of our Lord when mentioned in the 
Gospels are invariably spoken of as such. They are 
never called by any other name ; nor is there anything 
said regarding them to suggest that they were other 


than children of Joseph and Mary. It is noteworthy 
that they are always described as our Lord s brothers : 
their relation to Him rather than to Joseph and Mary 
being emphasized. How can such a usage be 
explained if they were not His full brothers ? It is 
inconceivable that, had they been merely kinsmen, 
they would have been invariably spoken of as brothers ; 
and, had they been step-brothers, this fact would in 
some way have been mentioned. 

The constant association of the brothers with Mary 
is fresh confirmation of this view. Why should they 
always be named along with her if they were not her 
sons ? Mere kinsmen were not likely to be perpetu 
ally with her, and just as little were step-children 
presumably advanced in years. No explanation of 
the presence of our Lord s brothers in the company 
of Mary is so obvious or convincing as that of their 
being her children. 

Then, again, Scripture is completely silent as to 
any previous marriage of Joseph. It is not unreason 
able to conclude that, if Joseph had been a widower 
with children, some mention of the fact would have 
occurred. If he was a widower with children, where 
were his children while he lived in Egypt ? Were 
they in Nazareth ? Why then did he not go there 
direct ? The only satisfactory answer to this difficulty 
is that they were grown up, and possibly had homes 
of their own. But this view is plainly incompatible 
with the close relationship between Mary and the 
brothers described in the Gospels. Had they been as 


old or only a little younger than herself, they could 
not possibly have associated with her as they did. 
Further, if Joseph had had children before our Lord, 
would our Lord in this case have been the son of 
David ? Would not the succession to this title have 
lain rather with the eldest son of Joseph, say James ? 
This argument may not be decisive, but it is certainly 
not without weight. Moreover, the history of the 
brothers in the Church is best explained by the view 
that they were full brothers. Would step-brothers 
have joined the Church at once and apparently 
together ? Is not such action much more credible 
in the case of full brothers than of step-brothers, for 
the brothers, if older than our Lord, had probably 
long ere this time homes and families of their own. 
A calculation as to the age of our Lord s brothers 
strengthens this conclusion. Paul, writing in, say 
A.D. 57 (1 Co 9 5 ), speaks of our Lord s brothers as 
occupied with missionary journeys and accompanied by 
their wives. Is it at all likely that this language could 
apply to four men born several years before 6-4 B.C. ? 
It is hardly probable that four brothers of such an 
age should have been alive, and still less probable 
that they should have been fit for the kind of labour 
mentioned. But this is to understate the case, at 
least so far as James is concerned. The first mention 
of James as the child of Joseph by a former marriage 
occurs in a work which represents him as grown up at 
the time of Herod s death (Prolevang. Jacobi, 25). A 
person who was grown up at the death of Herod in 


B.C. 4 must have been born at least in B.C. 20. This 
would make James seventy-seven when First Corinth 
ians was written. Is it at all likely that a man of this 
age, accompanied by his wife, should have been able 
to proceed systematically from Church to Church ? 
There is no difficulty, indeed, in believing the fact in 
itself, because such instances of long life and bodily 
vigour are recorded. But there is no proof whatever 
that James lived to an advanced age, and hence in this 
case ordinary probability must be taken into account. 
But against the opinion that our Lord s brothers 
were full brothers, several objections have been urged. 
The weightiest of these is the circumstance that our 
Lord when on the Cross entrusted His mother to the 
care of John. How, it is asked, could He have done 
so had Mary had sons of her own ? The common 
reply, that our Lord acted as He did because of the 
unbelief of His brothers, is scarcely satisfactory. Not 
only was their unbelief soon to be changed into belief, 
but even their unbelief need not have disqualified 
them for discharging the primary duty of sons towards 
a mother. The truth is, that we are wholly ignorant 
of what led our Lord to entrust His mother to John, 
and we can only offer conjectures on the subject. 
These conjectures do not fall to be discussed here ; l 
but, even though they were inadequate and unsatis 
factory, the force of the arguments already produced 
is not thereby lessened. Besides, it should never be 
forgotten that the difficulty under discussion is hardly 
1 Cp. p. 65 and foil. 


more dangerous to the view that our Lord s brothers 
were the children of Joseph and Mary, than to the 
view that they were the sons of Joseph by a previous 
marriage. At most, in the latter case, it is only 
slightly less; for the step-brothers immediately believed, 
and the eldest of them rose to a position of command 
ing importance in Jerusalem. Why in this case did 
our Lord pass over His step-brothers, especially James, 
and commend His mother to John ? The reason 
which weighed with Him in passing them over if 
they were step-brothers might have equally weighed 
with Him had they been full brothers. 

Again, it is argued that the behaviour of our Lord s 
brothers recorded in the Gospels suggests that they 
were older rather than younger than Himself. Here 
confident assertions on the one side are met with 
equally confident assertions on the other. Conclusions 
drawn from matter so debatable are in the highest 
degree uncertain. It cannot be shown that what is 
related of the conduct of our Lord s brothers is not 
perfectly consistent with their having been born after 
Him. Their conviction that His mind had lost its 
balance, their purpose to put Him under restraint for 
a time, their unbelief in His claims, are quite com 
patible with their having been His younger brethren. 

The unbelief of our Lord s brethren has also been 
alleged as a strong argument against the view that 
they were His full brothers. Their rejection of His 
claims is said to be more comprehensible if they were 
older that He. As His seniors, they might feel a 


natural jealousy of His pretensions, and His attitude 
towards the current religion of His time and towards 
the leaders of the people might seem to them presump 
tuous and even arrogant. But is there not a jealousy 
of youthful as well as of riper years ? Is there a 
greater intrinsic probability that older rather than 
younger brethren should have rejected the claims 
of Jesus to be the Messiah ? Is it not as easy to 
produce cogent reasons for the action of the brothers 
on the supposition that they were younger as on the 
supposition that they were older ? This argument 
then, like the last, is even on the most favourable view 
hardly of a feather s weight ; both of them together 
might conceivably turn the scale if the opposing 
considerations were equal ; but, as matters stand, 
they cease to have any value. 

The passages in the Gospels which speak of our 
Lord s birth, or which set forth the relations between 
His brothers and Joseph, Mary, and Himself, suggest, 
without exception, that the brothers were children of 
Joseph and Mary. No sentence can be quoted 
implying any other view. Nor can any convincing 
argument be brought against it ; for that derived from 
the committal of Mary to John is, as has been shown, 
hardly less destructive of the step-brother than of the 
full brother hypothesis. The truth, however, is that 
it is destructive of neither. This testimony of the 
language and facts of Scripture is confirmed by the 
testimony of history. Not only has the view that 
the brothers were full brothers the sanction of the most 


obvious meaning of the Gospels and of the most 
natural interpretation of the facts which they relate, 
it has, further, the support of the earliest trustworthy 
historical evidence. 

It must at once be granted that if this question 
were to be decided by an appeal to tradition, and if 
by tradition was to be understood the opinion held in 
the third and fourth centuries, then tradition affirms 
that they were His step-brothers. Clement, Origen, 
Eusebius, Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrosiaster, Gregory of 
Nyssa, and Epiphanius all held this view. But these 
writers had no opportunity of consulting trustworthy 
authorities ; their statements show that they had none, 
and hence do not constitute historical evidence. 
Their opinions are of no more value than those of 
men to-day regarding the relationships of William of 
Orange or of Chatham. The only primary authorities 
are the Protevangelium of James, the Gospel of Peter, 
Hegesippus, and Tertullian. The Protevangelium 
represents Joseph as an old man when Mary was 
married to him, and with sons of his own of whom 
James was the oldest. The Gospel according to Peter 
describes our Lord s brothers as sons of Joseph by 
a former marriage (Origen on Mt 13 55 ). Whether 
the testimony of these two writings is independent or 
not cannot be decided. In the present state of opinion 
as to their date, it is impossible to determine which 
is prior to the other, and whether the one makes use 
of the other. Hence the wisest course is to regard 
both documents as bearing witness to an opinion 


current in the middle of the second century. But is 
there any reason for believing that this opinion rested 
on a historical basis ? The writings themselves in 
which it appears are apocryphal. Both of them are 
fabrications for a purpose. Not a single assertion 
they contain can be accepted without confirmation from 
other sources, for many of their notices are plainly at 
variance with facts stated in the Gospels. Accord 
ingly, no reliance can be put on the accounts given in 
them of the relationship of our Lord s brothers to Him ; 
that relationship may have been purely imaginary 
and devised in a dogmatic interest. At any rate the 
statements in these writings cannot be regarded as 
embodying a tradition of the slightest historical value. 
The testimony of Hegesippus indicates plainly that 
James was our Lord s brother; but whether he re 
garded him as a full brother or not is uncertain. He 
speaks (Eusebius, H. E. iii. 20) of Jude "as said to be 
our Lord s brother according to the flesh." This expres 
sion has been regarded (Lightfoot, Gfalatians, 269) as 
more favourable to the step-brother than to the full 
brother theory. But it can be quite as naturally 
understood of the one as of the other. The point 
emphasized is not that the brothers were Joseph s 
and not Mary s children, but that they were children 
of Joseph and Mary, and hence not strictly and 
truly His brothers. It has been asserted (Lightfoot, 
G-alatians, 269) that the fact that both Eusebius 
and Epiphanius, who derived their information mainly 
from Hegesippus, adopted the view that our Lord s 


brothers were His step-brothers, strengthens the 
position that this was also the view of Hegesippus. 
The testimony of Epiphanius is much less trustworthy 
than that of Eusebius, and it will be sufficient for our 
purpose to examine the language of the latter Father 
on the subject. His language is as follows (Eusebius, 
H. E. ii. 1): "This James was called the brother of 
the Lord because he was known as the son of Joseph ; 
and Joseph was supposed to be the father of Christ 
because the Virgin being betrothed to him was found 
with child by the Holy Ghost before they came 
together, as the account of the Holy Gospels shows." 
The exact force of this sentence is not clear. To 
some it appears that Eusebius would not have spoken 
of James as being known as the son of Joseph had he 
not regarded him as a son by a previous marriage. 
Others, however, hold that what he wishes to point 
out is simply the difference between our Lord as born 
supernaturally and James as born naturally. The 
same uncertainty attends the interpretation of the 
expressions " James who was one of the so-called 
brothers of the Saviour" (Eusebius, H. E. i. 12); 
" James the first bishop there, the one who is called 
the brother of the Lord " (iii. 7). If the authorship 
of the treatise on the Star, ascribed to Eusebius, 
were certain, there could be no doubt as to his view, 
for mention is there made of the five sons of 
Hannah (Anna), the first wife of Joseph. It is quite 
possible that Eusebius held the opinion that our 
Lord s brothers were not full but step-brothers, and he 


may have so understood the language of Hegesippus ; 
but even though he did, it would not follow that he 
interpreted Hegesippus correctly. He may have 
construed the ambiguous phrase so called in accord 
ance with the prevailing opinion of his time. The 
phrase might have borne one meaning to Hegesippus 
and another to him. Further, even though it could 
be shown that Hegesippus himself believed that our 
Lord s brothers were the sons of Joseph by a former 
marriage, his testimony would not show that such was 
the belief of the Church at large, for he might have 
accepted this opinion directly or indirectly from the 
Protevangelium of James or from the Gospel of Peter. 

The testimony of the Protevangelium and of the 
Gospel of Peter must be set aside because of the 
character of the documents from which it comes. The 
view of Hegesippus is uncertain. It is otherwise 
with the opinion of Tertullian. He nowhere asserts 
categorically that our Lord s brothers were the children 
of Mary, but this inference may and should be drawn 
from certain expressions in his writings. The 
language which he uses when arguing against Marcion 
(iv. 19), and against Marcion s follower Apelles (de 
Car. Chr. 7), plainly implies that to him the brothers 
of our Lord were His brothers in precisely the same 
sense in which Mary was His mother. He writes, 
too (de Monog. 8, and de Virg. Vel 6), in a manner 
which shows that he took for granted that Joseph 
and Mary lived together after our Lord s birth as 
married persons. That this inference as to the view 


of Tertullian is correct, appears from the positive 
assertion of Helvidius, an assertion that even Jerome 
does not call in question (adv. Helvid. 17). But 
Tertullian may be regarded as giving not his own 
opinion merely, but that generally entertained. Had 
the view that the brethren of our Lord were the sons 
of Joseph by a deceased wife been known or accepted 
by him, he could not possibly have written as he does. 
From the manner in which he expresses himself, it is 
probable that he was acquainted with no opinion 
except that which he himself held. If this inference 
be correct, the Church generally in the age of 
Tertullian, that is, towards the end of the second 
century, believed that our Lord s brothers were the 
children of Joseph and Mary. Certainly Tertullian 
was of all men of his time the least likely to entertain 
this opinion unless he had regarded it as the only 
legitimate inference from Scripture, or had found it 
current within the Church. The assertion may there 
fore be regarded as established, that the most ancient 
trustworthy evidence is in favour of the opinion that 
our Lord s brothers were the sons of Joseph and Mary. 
The only theory that is entitled to be seriously 
considered along with that just discussed and affirmed, 
is the hypothesis that our Lord s brothers were step 
brothers, the children of Joseph by a former wife. 
But the arguments against this opinion are decisive. 
Why is not even the slightest hint given that Joseph 
was previously married ? Why are the brothers not 
spoken of as step-brothers even on a single occasion ? 


The step-brother hypothesis affords an altogether in 
adequate explanation of the language of Matthew and 
Luke already discussed, and indeed of all the state 
ments bearing upon our Lord s brothers and their 
relations to our Lord. It cannot for one moment be 
compared with the hypothesis that they were full 
brothers, for the natural and straightforward sense 
which it attaches to the statements of Scripture. 
Notwithstanding, it has often been argued that it 
deserves to be preferred to any other because 
it has the sanction of tradition, and on this ground 
has been strongly supported by many writers. 
This claim, however, has just been examined and 
shown to be baseless. The verdict of history is 
not for, but against the hypothesis that our Lord s 
brothers were the sons of Joseph by a former marriage. 
If any opinion existed in the first two centuries among 
Catholic Christians, it was the view that our Lord s 
brothers were uterine and not step-brothers. More 
over, it is, to say the least, highly probable that 
the view that our Lord s brothers were not the sons 
of Joseph and Mary can be traced to the sentiment 
prevailing in the third and fourth centuries as to the 
superiority of the celibate to the wedded life. Origen 
affirms distinctly that the brothers of our Lord were 
the sons of Joseph by a deceased wife (on Jn 2 12 , 
Mt IS 55 ). But it is plain from his statement that 
the authorities on which he relied were the apocryphal 
Gospel of Peter and the equally apocryphal Protevan- 
gelium of James, and that he was influenced in his 


opinion by a desire to preserve the honour of Mary. 
Mary, he thought, should be " the first fruit of virginity 
among women, as her son was the first fruit of purity 
and chastity among men." The same considerations 
that influenced Origen doubtless influenced succeeding 
writers. If we had full knowledge of their modes of 
thought, we should probably discover that not Scrip 
ture nor history, but a dogmatic conception lay at 
the root of their view that our Lord s brothers were 
His step-brothers. It is reasonable to conclude also 
that the views of Clement of Alexandria, which, as we 
know from the translation of the Hypotyposes by 
Cassiodorius were the same as those of Origen, were 
derived from the same apocryphal sources and accepted 
from the same motives. 1 Perhaps the most conclusive 
argument against the historical basis of the step 
brother hypothesis is the contempt with which Jerome 
speaks of it (on Mt 12 49 ). He would never have 
ventured to characterise it as he does had he believed 
it to rest on any other foundation than the " ravings of 
apocryphal writings." 

Another argument, however, in favour of the step 
brother theory is its alleged harmony with general 
Christian sentiment. It is said to commend itself at 
once to every Christian by its obvious propriety. 
Now it cannot be denied that the sentiment that Mary 

1 Clement has been quoted on behalf of all three views (Herzog, 3 
Clement, McGiffert, Euseb. 104, Lightfoot, Gal. 271) ; but as his 
opinion is a matter of inference, it is not expedient to attach weight 
to any particular conclusion. 


must have remained a virgin has been widely accepted 
in all ages and by all Churches. Her perpetual 
virginity is a dogma in the Greek and Eoman Catholic 
Churches ; but the tenet is not peculiar to these. It is 
affirmed in some Protestant symbols (Art. Smalk. 1. 4, 
Form. Concord., Helvetic Con.), and has been maintained 
by many writers whose Protestantism and orthodoxy 
are above suspicion. That this sentiment was ex 
ceedingly active in the early ages of the Church is 
unquestionable ; but co-operating with it, and perhaps 
even preceding and causing it, was a false estimate of 
the married life. Marriage, if not regarded as in 
itself impure, was yet esteemed a lower condition 
when compared with virginity. The ascetic view, 
which exalted the unwedded above the wedded life, 
was current in the first century ; and St. Paul has even 
occasion to denounce those who actually forbade 
marriage (1 Ti 4 3 ). This mode of thought soon 
acquired wide influence in the Church. Abstinence 
from marriage became the duty of all who aspired to 
live the highest type of life. The mother of our Lord 
came to be regarded as the ideal of woman, and so it 
was necessary to believe that she bore no child after our 
Lord, and was emphatically the ideal of the virgin life. 
The worth of the sentiment that there was a moral 
fitness that Mary should bear no other children will 
be differently estimated to the end of time. To some 
its weight will appear considerable, to others trifling ; 
but it certainly cannot be described as based on any 
Christian principle, or as in the true sense of the term 


universal. If it has prevailed extensively, so, too, has 
the opposite view. But sentiment is no evidence as 
to facts. The assertion that Mary cannot have had 
other children than our Lord, because there would 
have been a moral unseemliness in her having them, 
is an argument which carries no logical or demonstra 
tive force, and, viewed in itself and more particularly 
in the light of Jewish sentiment on the subject of 
marriage and of Christian sentiment as to the most 
suitable home life for our Lord, is open to the gravest 
objections. Marriage was regarded by the Jews as a 
duty, and children as a special proof of the divine 
favour. What likelihood is there that this view was 
not held by Joseph and Mary ? Hardly anything 
short of a command from God could have induced 
them to think otherwise, and where is the evi 
dence that any such injunction was laid upon them ? 
Further, would not our Lord have been deprived of 
some of the most valuable lessons of life had He been 
an only child ? Our Lord was evidently intended to 
share largely in the common lot of man. Was it not, 
therefore, of consequence for Him to know what it is 
to have brothers and sisters ? Obviously, therefore, 
the alleged weighty if not conclusive argument drawn 
from Christian sentiment can be opposed by other 
arguments still more conclusive. 

The theory propounded by Jerome is that the Lord s 
brothers were His cousins. This view he sought to 
establish as follows. James the Lord s brother was 
an Apostle, as is plain from Gal I 19 . But he lived 


long after the death of the son of Zebedee, the only 
other James among the Apostles ; and hence he must 
be identical with James the son of Alpheeus. This 
James the son of Alphreus was also known as James 
the less (Mk 15 40 ) as contrasted with the son of 
Zebedee, James the greater. James the less, the son 
of Alphaeus, had a brother Joses. The mother of James 
and Joses bore the name of Mary (Mt 27 56 , Mk 15 40 ), 
and she was among the women who witnessed our 
Lord s crucifixion. This Mary, then, was the wife of 
Alphseus, the father of James and Joses. But our 
Lord had two brothers (Mk 6 3 ) named James and Joses. 
And from John (19 25 ) it is clear that among the 
women at the Cross was Mary a sister of the Virgin. 
Now, as Mary the mother of James and Joses is 
stated to have been at the Cross, the identity of this 
Mary with the sister of the Virgin is evident, and our 
Lord s brothers are consequently His cousins. This is 
the theory as advanced by Jerome himself : later 
scholars enlarged and made it more systematic ; but 
with these additions it is unnecessary to deal. 

The theory has no historical basis. Its author 
does not quote any previous scholars by whom it was 
held, and he would unquestionably have done so had 
this been in his power. It is consequently a mere 
hypothesis, the value of which is to be estimated by 
its explanation of the facts of Scripture. But its 
value in this connection is seriously lessened by two 
considerations. It is a theory avowedly devised in 
the interests of Mary s perpetual virginity ; Jerome 


takes credit to himself for advancing a view which 
affirms not only the virginity of Mary, but that of 
Joseph as well. It cannot be doubted that Jerome 
sought in Scripture a support for his theory rather 
than discovered his theory in Scripture. Further, 
Jerome himself does not adhere to his own view. His 
treatise against Helvidius, in which he states and ex 
pounds his opinion that our Lord s brothers were His 
cousins, was written probably about 383. But in 
his epistle to Hedibia, which is assigned to the years 
406407, he distinguished Mary of Cleophas from 
Mary the mother of James and Joses, although the 
identity of these women is one of the foundations of 
his own theory. He adds, however, that some contend 
that the mother of James and Joses was our Lord s aunt. 
Moreover, most of the propositions that constitute 
Jerome s theory are questionable, and none of them 
indisputable. That James is called an Apostle by 
Paul is highly probable, though the fact has been 
debated. But it does not follow that he was one of 
the Twelve, for Paul uses the word Apostle in a sense 
applicable to others besides the Twelve. The identifi 
cation of James the son of Alphajus with James the 
little, the son of Mary, is precarious ; and the assertion 
by which it is accompanied, that James the less is 
distinguished from James the greater, is inaccurate. 
For the epithet less applies probably to stature, and 
no contrast is drawn between him and any other 
James. That the Mary of Cleophas mentioned in 
John is the same as Mary the mother of James and 


Joses in Matthew and Mark, is possible and even 
probable. But the last and most important identifica 
tion, that of Mary of Cleophas with the sister of the 
Virgin, which is the keystone of the theory, is in the 
highest degree unlikely. It takes for granted that 
there were two sisters of the same name, Mary, a case 
as unusual in an ordinary family in Judsea in our 
Lord s time as it would be in an ordinary family among 
ourselves to-day. Yet, again, Jerome assumes that 
in Jn 19 25 only three women are mentioned. But, 
according to the most tenable construction, four women 
and not three are referred to by John. On this view 
of the verse the sister of our Lord s mother is quite 

; ..J . .^V .--. L 

distinct from Mary the wife of Cleophas, and the 
entire theory based upon this identification collapses. 

But objections still more decisive remain. The hypo 
thesis is altogether opposed to the distinction clearly 
drawn in the Gospels and Acts between our Lord s 
brothers on the one hand and the twelve Apostles on 
the other. This distinction renders it out of the ques 
tion that two at least of our Lord s brothers should have 
been among the Apostles. It is equally refuted by the 
unbelief of our Lord s brothers in His claims, to which 
express witness is borne in the Gospels (Jn 7 15 ). How 
could our Lord s brothers have been thus described had 
two of them at least been among the Twelve ? Further, 
how comes it to pass that these brethren appear in 
the Gospels with Mary their aunt and not with Mary 
their mother ? Does not this show plainly that their 
alleged mother was not their real mother ? 


Moreover, the theory of Jerome is utterly incon 
sistent with the proper sense of the term brothers. 
If our Lord s brothers were His cousins, why are they 
not called so ? The word cousin is as common in 
Greek (avetyios) as in English. Why is this term never 
used to designate the actual relationship on this theory 
between our Lord and His so-called brothers ? No 
instance can be drawn from the New Testament and 
none from classical Greek to prove that the term 
brother ever includes cousin. Three cases are 
quoted from the Old Testament (Gn 14 U , Lv 10 4 , 
1 Ch 23 21 - 22 ; Mayor, Epistle of James, 10) where 
cousins are designated by the term brothers, and in 
two of these cases the Hebrew term (n) for 
brother is represented by the Greek term (aSeX<o<?) 
for brother. But no stress can obviously be laid 
on isolated examples of this kind; least of all can 
they be held to indicate an established usage. The 
common assertion as to the laxity with which the word 
brother is used in Hebrew is inaccurate, as a glance 
at any good Hebrew lexicon will show. Nothing is 
more certain than that the word brother in N.T. 
times had as clear and definite a sense as it has in 
English to-day. Finally, the earliest Patristic evidence 
available is opposed to Jerome s view of the identity of 
our Lord s brothers with His cousins ; for Hegesippus 
employs the term brother to designate James and 
Jude, while he reserves the term cousin to designate 
Symeon, James s father s brother s son, who succeeded 
him in the bishopric of Jerusalem. 



TAMES, then, was the brother of our Lord in the 
ordinary sense of that term, being a son of 
Mary His mother. Two lists of our Lord s brothers 
are given in the Gospels (Mt 13 55 , Mk 6 3 ). Ac 
cording to these, their names were James, Joseph 
or Joses, Simon, and Judas. The order in which the 
names are given is probably that of seniority, as this 
is the principle of arrangement commonly adopted 
in such cases. On this supposition James would be 
the eldest son of Joseph and Mary. Whether James, 
besides being the eldest son, was the eldest child, is 
altogether uncertain. He had sisters as well as 
brothers, and one or more of the sisters may have 
been born before him. No inference as to the 
respective ages of the sons and daughters can be 
drawn from the fact that the daughters are not 
mentioned as accompanying their mother to Caper 
naum (Jn 2 12 ), that they do not appear like the sons 
in her company, and that the citizens of Nazareth 
speak of them as residing in their midst. The 
daughters seem to have had homes of their own in 


Nazareth, but this circumstance throws no light on 
the question whether any of them were born before 
James or not. 

Among the Jews of our Lord s time the ties between 
parents and children were of the closest and tenderest 
kind. Their duties were reciprocal. If a child was 
bound to honour and obey its parents, the parents in 
turn were not less bound to pay the utmost attention 
to the welfare, moral and physical, of the child. No 
where through the world was there such noble and 
attractive family life as among the Jews. 

If the sense of parental responsibility was strongly 
felt by all Jews, it would be especially felt by the 
father and mother of James, because of their high 
character and their relation to our Lord. Accordingly, 
it cannot be doubted that James, together with his 
brothers and sisters, was brought up in an atmosphere 
charged with reverence for God and love for man, 
with tenderness, freedom, and joy. The supreme aim 
of Jewish parents was to instil into their children 
from their earliest years the knowledge and observance 
of the Law. In a home like that of Joseph and 
Mary, the Law meant not merely rites and ceremonies, 
but especially the fear of God and the practice of 
virtue. The earliest lessons received by James from 
the lips of his father or of his mother were doubtless 
those of piety. The first truth implanted in his mind 
would be belief in God as the one Father and Creator 
of the world. The existence of the one God in whom 
all Jews believed, the only God, the God who had 


entered into covenant with the nation, whose Law 
they held in unlimited reverence, and whose name 
and character were their glory, was inculcated on 
the mind of James before any of the written or un 
written laws with which he would afterwards become 
familiar (cf. Philo, Leg. ad Caium, 16). Thereafter he 
would commit to memory the Sheina t the funda 
mental confession of faith in God (Dt 6 4 - 7 - n - la 21 , 
Nu 15 37 ~ 41 ), possibly some child s prayer, and some of 
the Psalms. Before he could read he would hear 
from his mother the tales of Joseph, and Samson, 
and David, and the other national heroes. It is 
possible that the usages which were binding at a later 
time already prevailed in the age of James, and that 
boys were then required to repeat the common prayer 
and to pray at table (Berachoth iii. 3). The worship 
of the home and of the synagogue and the recurrence 
of the different annual festivals would contribute 
largely to the moral education of James. His 
curiosity would be aroused by the phylacteries or 
prayer straps worn by his father on his left arm and 
on his forehead at morning prayer on ordinary days, 
and by the tassels or fringes of blue or white wool 
which he wore at the four corners of his upper 
garment (Zizith). The Mezuza or box fixed upon the 
right-hand doorpost, containing in twenty-two lines 
the two paragraphs Dt 6*- 9 - 11 - 13 - 21 , touched reve 
rently by every visitor as he entered, and which 
he was doubtless himself taught to touch, must have 
stimulated his mind and imagination. He would 


have much to ask regarding the steps taken by his 
father and mother in connection with the observance 
of the Sabbath and the different sacred days. From 
his earliest hours of consciousness he would be taught, 
alike by the speech and example of his parents, 
reverence for God and for the Law, together with 
lessons of truthfulness, simplicity, mercy, and 

But, though the education of every Jew consisted 
almost exclusively in religion, and therefore bore 
chiefly on conduct, the intellectual element was not 
absent. The fact that duty was embodied in sacred 
books was an intellectual stimulus, and caused reading 
and writing to be largely cultivated. The ability to 
read the Law was eagerly sought, and hence reading 
and even writing were widely diffused among the 
common people. James may have been taught to 
read and write by his parents or by travelling 
teachers. But, judging from the size of Nazareth, 
it probably had a school to which he would be sent. 
The age at which attendance at school began is 
differently stated by different authorities, some making 
it five and others six ; the latter view is that which 
is found in the Talmud, and probably represents the 
general custom. The teacher of the school has 
hitherto been commonly identified with the clerk or 
officer of the synagogue (Hazzan) ; but this view has 
lately been disputed (art. Education in Hastings DB, 
vol. i. p. 650). Considering the high estimation in 
which the teacher was held by the Jews, it does 


seern improbable that duties so important as his 
should be combined with the charge of the rolls of 
the Synagogue and with the whipping of criminals. 
It must not therefore be taken for granted without 
further inquiry that the officer of the Synagogue was 
at the same time the teacher of the school, for it is 
quite possible that these were distinct occupations. 
The teacher of the school may have belonged to those 
doctors of the law spoken of by Luke (5 17 ). These 
were found, according to him, in every village of 
Galilee and Judaea. The suggestion that the teachers 
of schools were found in this class has much to 
recommend it. 

The subject of instruction was the Law. During 
the earlier years of school life, Scripture was the only 
text-book. The custom in later times was to begin 
with the Pentateuch and then to proceed to the 
Prophets and finally to the Hagiographa. The first 
book to be read was Leviticus, as it was the chief 
source of knowledge regarding the Law. It is quite 
possible that the education of James followed some 
such course as this. 

To determine the language in which this education 
was given should, to all appearance, be the easiest 
of tasks ; yet upon no question is there greater un 
certainty. It is stated nearly everywhere that this 
instruction was given in Hebrew, for Hebrew only 
was allowed in school. It is, however, difficult to 
frame a conception of the manner in which boys who 
spoke Aramaic at home could be taught to read and 


write in what was to them a foreign tongue. Was 
a boy in Nazareth set to read Hebrew and not 
Aramaic ? Did he learn to read it without under 
standing it ? If he could read and understand it, 
what necessity was there that the lessons read in the 
Synagogue should be translated into the vernacular ? 
Was this done merely for the sake of the women ? 
Again, is it in the least probable that village boys 
would be taught to write in a language which they 
could not speak, and which was at this time, so far 
as spoken, a tongue confined to the learned ? 

These difficulties are so grave as to throw much 
doubt on the assertion that the Hebrew Bible was 
the text-book from which boys were taught to read 
and write. It is hardly possible to conceive how 
boys belonging to the common people could have 
been taught these arts in other than their native 
Aramaic. Whether the teachers themselves were 
acquainted with Hebrew must remain an open 
question, although it is probable they were ; but that 
they employed any other tongue except Aramaic in 
teaching reading and writing, is scarcely credible. If, 
then, instruction was given in Aramaic, there must 
have been in existence translations of at least 
certain portions of the O.T. into Aramaic adapted 
for use in schools, if not a complete translation. 
The only alternative supposition is that every 
teacher knew Hebrew, and translated certain pas 
sages of that language into Aramaic for the benefit 
of his pupils. But this latter view is so improbable 


that it may be concluded that a child s Bible if not 
a people s Bible in Aramaic existed in the time of 
our Lord. This child s Bible would be the text-book 
from which James was taught to read and write. 

What special form of Aramaic James was taught 
cannot be ascertained. It is doubtful whether any 
existing works contain the idiom spoken in Palestine 
during the first century. The best scholars hold that 
there were several dialects of Aramaic, and that at 
least three varieties of it were to be found : one in 
Judaea, a second in Samaria, and a third in Galilee. 
The first of these was probably the language of 
literature, and the speech of educated persons through 
out the land. It is barely possible that this was the 
dialect that James acquired, but it is much more 
probable that he was taught the dialect which was 
current in Galilee, and which in the latter half of 
the second century became the common speech of 
the whole land (Dalman, Die Worte Jem, 14). 

What James learnt at school, besides Scripture, or, 
indeed, whether he learnt anything else, and how long 
he remained there, is altogether uncertain. No 
evidence exists to show whether the children of the 
working class ever entered upon the study of what, 
when reduced to writing, became the Mishna. The 
rule often quoted, that this study should be taken 
after the tenth year, is long posterior to the time of 
James, and is perhaps quite inapplicable to Jewish 
schools in the first century. It is barely possible that 
as the Mishna was in a sense more highly valued 


than the Old Testament itself in our Lord s time, the 
teachers who were acquainted with it would naturally 
introduce their most promising scholars to its contents. 
Attendance at school by the children of the common 
people would hardly cease as early as ten, and 
accordingly a number of the brighter children may 
have acquired at school some elementary knowledge 
of the Oral Law. It is conceivable that James 
gained some acquaintance with this Law at school ; 
but if he did, that acquaintance was so slight as not 
to entitle him to be regarded as familiar with the 
Law. His education was in no sense different from 
that of the Jewish children of the working classes. 
Of higher instruction in the technical Jewish sense 
he had none. 

What opportunity, if any, of learning Hebrew, the 
language of the sacred books, was open to boys in 
the position of James, cannot be ascertained. It 
would be rash to take for granted that the ordinary 
schoolboy was taught any language except Aramaic. 
At the same time, the connection between Aramaic 
and Hebrew was so close and the enthusiasm for 
the study of the Law so great, that not a few boys 
may have acquired the ability to read Hebrew even 
at the common school. That our Lord possessed 
this ability is generally admitted. It is not to be 
supposed that He enjoyed greater advantages than 
James, and hence James, too, may have been able to 
read the Old Testament in Hebrew. It is hardly 
credible that Joseph possessed either the whole of 


the O.T. in Hebrew or even a single book of it. But 
he may have been able to purchase the sections 
used for the education of children. Or both our 
Lord and James may have obtained access to the 
rolls preserved in the Synagogue, which were the 
property of the community, and may thus have read 
the O.T. in Hebrew. (Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, 
i. 234, thinks that a complete copy of the Old 
Testament was possessed by our Lord s family.) 

James then learned to read and write Aramaic 
at school ; possibly, too, he may have been taught 
some Hebrew. That he studied Greek at school, and 
was thus able to read the LXX, is much less probable. 
Of the wide diffusion of Greek in Galilee during 
the first century there is ample evidence. The 
administration of affairs throughout Galilee was 
carried on in Greek. Greek was not only the 
universal language of literature ; it was not less 
the language of commercial and of public life. Greek, 
in fact, was to Aramaic what English is to Welsh or 
Gaelic to-day, and it may be taken for granted that 
James knew Greek as well as the average Welshman 
or Highlander knows English. That our Lord was 
acquainted with Greek may probably be inferred 
from His conversation with Pilate, with the centurion, 
and with the Greeks who desired to see Him. The 
familiarity with Greek which our Lord had, James 
doubtless had equally. Aramaic was spoken in the home 
at Nazareth, but the ability to understand and speak 
Greek was probably possessed by most of its members. 


The attendance of James at school would hardly 
be prolonged beyond the twelfth or thirteenth year. 
The latter age was, centuries after the time of James, 
fixed on as the period at which a Jew became a 
son of the commandments, and as such bound to 
observe the entire Law (Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish 
Fathers, App.). In the first century no uniform 
age was observed, but every youth as soon as 
the signs of manhood appeared was held bound to 
obey the whole Law. Perhaps before he was thirteen 
James had gone up to Jerusalem at one or other of 
the three great annual festivals. Certainly he would 
go up then, and probably thereafter he visited the 
capital regularly. These visits, together with his 
religious and moral training in the home and the 
worship of the Synagogue, were, after the example 
of his father and mother, the influences by which he 
was chiefly moulded. The life of the household in 
which he was brought up was one of the utmost 
simplicity and frugality. The furniture and meals 
and the dress of all the members were of the plainest 
kind. Luxury was unknown, just as poverty was 
equally unknown. The necessaries of life were 
much cheaper in Galilee than in Judsea, and a 
moderate income sufficed to maintain a family in 
comfort. Food, clothing, and a house were readily 
procured by any man prepared to work. Joseph, 
it may be taken for granted, was diligent in business, 
and his trade of village carpenter or wright, though 
doubtless yielding him only a modest competence, 


was amply sufficient to supply the wants of his 
family. The sons and daughters of the home would 
be brought up to assist their father and mother from 
their earliest years, and the boys would be set to 
work as soon as they left school. If James was 
next to our Lord in age, it is quite possible that, 
like our Lord, he may also have been a carpenter. 
He is designated as such by tradition (History of 
Joseph, 2), but the statement is evidently derived 
from the Gospels. There might not be sufficient 
work in Nazareth to keep three members of one 
household employed as carpenters. It is certain, 
however, at once from the custom prevailing among 
the Jews, from the character of his parents, and from 
his rank in life, that James was bred to some trade, 
although the particular occupation he followed must 
remain undetermined. 

It was customary for men among the Jews to 
marry at the age of eighteen (Taylor, Sayings of the 
Jewish Fathers, App. 97); and as marriage was held 
in the highest estimation among them, it is reasonable 
to conclude that James was married. Marriage was, 
in fact, regarded as a duty, and a maxim is quoted 
from the Talmud to the effect that a man without 
a wife is not a man (Jelamoth, 63&; Taylor, Sayinys, 
17 ; cf. Lightfoot, Colossians, 377). But it is not 
necessary to infer from Jewish sentiments regarding 
wedlock that James was married. There need be no 
hesitation on the question, for Paul asserts (1 Co 9 5 ) 
that the brothers of the Lord took their wives 


with them when they went to visit the Churches 
or to evangelise. The conclusion that James was 
married, seems to follow inevitably from this state 
ment. It has, however, been argued that Paul might 
have expressed himself thus had the majority of the 
brothers been married, even though James had 
remained unmarried. But is it conceivable that he 
would have spoken so absolutely had the most 
distinguished of our Lord s brothers, of whom every 
hearer of his letter would naturally first think, 
formed an exception to his statement ? Still it is 
urged that Paul could hardly have thought of James 
as married, because tradition, which has far more to 
say regarding him than any of his brothers, does 
not speak of his descendants (Zahn, JEM. i. 74). 
As an argument to be weighed against Paul s assertion 
this consideration is of no moment ; and even apart 
from that assertion its force is not great, for the 
information we possess from other than Scripture 
sources regarding James is scanty and in large 
measure untrustworthy. 1 Besides, does it follow that 
because no mention is made of James descendants 
that he left no descendants ? Would they have been 
mentioned had they been females only, or had they 
died early ? Again, does it follow that if a man has 
no children he is not married ? 

It is further contended that an ascetic like James 
would not marry. Granting that he was an ascetic, 

1 The assertion of Epiphanius (Hcer. Ixxviii. 13) that he was a 
virgin is of no value. 



why should he not marry ? Samson and Samuel are 
commonly adduced as his prototypes. Were they not 
married ? Is there any evidence that James looked 
on marriage with other sentiments than those of the 
great majority of his fellow-countrymen ? Or will it 
be affirmed that he shared the views of the Essenes 
respecting it ? Accordingly, there is not the shadow 
of a reason for rejecting the opinion that James was 

Was James a Nazirite ? Nowhere in the New 
Testament is he termed such. Nor is there a sentence 
or phrase in his own letter suggesting that he was. 
Yet he is commonly represented as a Nazirite, and 
many inferences as to his sentiments have been derived 
from this circumstance. 

How has it come to pass that James is often 
described as a Nazirite ? The statement that he was 
such is found first in its complete form in Epiphanius. 
But a statement of a writer in the fourth century is 
evidently of no historical value. Epiphanius had no 
personal knowledge either of the life of James or of 
the Nazirite vow in the first century. If his assertion 
is not a mere conjecture, it is probably an inference 
from the language of Hegesippus regarding James. 
Not a few scholars have drawn the same conclusion 
from that language as Epiphanius did. They contend 
that his description implies that James was a Nazirite. 
But if this were the case, why did Hegesippus not 
mention so remarkable a fact ? Besides, even had he 
clone so, his assertion would be questionable, because 


the source from which he has drawn most of this 
information regarding James appears altogether un 
trustworthy. There is no reason to believe that either 
Hegesippus or the authority on which he depended 
had any direct knowledge regarding James, or that 
any credible tradition as to his mode of life had 
reached them. How then did the tradition arise ? It 
is probably due to the suggestion made by James to 
Paul on the occasion of the last visit of the latter to 
Jerusalem. He then advised him to show his fidelity 
to the law of his fathers by becoming responsible for 
the charges of certain men who had taken a vow. 
This vow is commonly and perhaps justly regarded 
as that of the Nazirite. The counsel given by James 
is apparently, then, the source of the tradition that he 
was a Nazirite. 

Many writers, while acknowledging the inadequacy 
of the evidence for the view that James was under a 
perpetual Nazirite vow, regard this as extremely prob 
able, and accordingly describe him as such. But there 
is a wide gulf between the belief that James may have 
been a Nazirite and the proof that he was one. The 
reasons commonly assigned are not convincing. It is 
to be observed, first of all, that there is no agreement 
among the upholders of this opinion as to when James 
became a Nazirite for life. Some hold that he was 
such from birth, others that he took this vow in later 
life. How is this vital point to be determined ? 
Who is to reconcile such diverging views ? 

The most widely accepted opinion is that James 


was devoted to the service of God from his birth. 
His parents in gratitude for the unique honour done 
to Mary as the mother of the Messiah set him apart 
as a Nazirite. But there is no evidence that Joseph 
and Mary acted thus. Nor is there any account of 
their feelings at the birth of James which sanctions 
any such view. Is it not as probable that, with one 
child already destined to an extraordinary career, they 
should resolve to bring up the newborn babe in the 
ordinary way as that they should place him under the 
vow of a Nazirite ? If they had been able to think 
of such a vow at all, would they not most naturally 
have placed our Lord under it ? Besides, what is told 
us regarding the life of our Lord hardly favours the 
opinion that James was under such a vow ? Our 
Lord s manner of life was probably derived from that 
observed at home. He drank wine ; what ground is 
there for holding that James acted differently ? It 
is answered that the tradition preserved by Hegesippus 
affirms that he drank no wine, and that there is no 
o-round for rejecting this statement. But is the 
assertion of Hegesippus, or rather of the authority on 
which he depended, to be preferred to that of the 
Gospel according to the Hebrews, the author of which 
was quite as likely to be correctly informed regarding 
the habits of James as Hegesippus ? According to 
that Gospel, James was present at the institution of 
the Lord s Supper, and actually drank of the cup. 
Whatever the value of this statement as a matter of 
fact, it proves that in the second century and in 


Jewish Christian circles James was not believed to be 
a Nazirite. From the fragments of the Gospel which 
have come down to us, it is evident that the author 
held James in the highest honour. Would he have 
represented him as present at the Lord s Supper, and 
as drinking of the cup, had he believed that he had 
taken a vow to drink no wine ? 

The theory that James was a Nazirite has been used 
to explain many of the real and alleged facts of his 
career. It has been suggested that he owned his title 
of the Just to his being a Nazirite. But he is never 
called a Nazirite before the fourth century, and he 
did not need to be a Nazirite to earn this designation. 
The supposed connection is a mere possibility, and no 
more credible than any other. 

The tone of prophetic authority and fiery vehemence 
with which he speaks has been traced to the same 
source. If it were proved that he was not a Nazirite, 
would not the tone of authority remain ? Is the tone 
not a fact on any hypothesis, and is not the obvious 
explanation of it to be found in his natural tempera 
ment ? The alienation of our Lord s brothers has also 
been brought into connection with the Nazirite vow 
of James. But if this argument is cogent, all the 
brothers must have been Nazirites, for they were all 
estranged from our Lord. Were they all, then, 
Nazirites ? 

It has further been contended that, as a Nazirite, 
James may have been admitted, as Hegesippus relates, 
into the Sanctuary. But this is a baseless supposition. 


It has been argued that the privileges assigned to the 
Kechabites enable us to believe that analogous 
privileges may have been assigned to the Nazirites. 
But in the case of the Eechabites trustworthy 
historical evidence is to be had. In the case before 
us that evidence, to say the least, is in dispute. 
Besides, there is no real parallel between the inclusion 
of the Eechabites among the singers in the Temple 
and the admission of James into the Holy Place. 

The recklessness, indeed, with which even writers 
of distinction speak regarding jSTazirites for life in the 
first century is extraordinary. Their existence is 
treated as indisputable, and John the Baptist and 
James are brought forward as typical instances : and 
it is taken for granted that they both lived according 
to the same rule. Now there is no evidence to show 
that the Baptist was a Nazirite. He is never described 
as such in Scripture, nor is it said that his head was 
unshorn. If the Baptist had his hair cut, as other- 
Jews, the practice of James, according to Hegesippus, 
was different, for he states expressly that no razor 
came upon the head of James. Further, between the 
mode of life of the Baptist and that of James, 
according to Hegesippus, there is a striking and even 
cardinal difference. A principal part of the food of 
the Baptist was locusts. James, on the other hand, is 
said never to have touched flesh. It is plain, then, 
that the Baptist and the James of Hegesippus cannot 
be regarded as men living under the same rule and as 
such Nazirites. There is no proof that the Baptist 


was a Nazirite. There is no proof that James was a 
Nazirite. The fact is that no evidence for the exist 
ence of Nazirites for life in the first century has as 
yet been adduced. That such Nazirites may have 
existed is possible, but that their existence has been 
demonstrated must be denied, for none of the state 
ments in the Talmud can be regarded as contributing 
to the settlement of this question. 

The assertion that James was a Nazirite for life 
may therefore be challenged with much reasonableness. 
Further, is it likely that a Nazirite for life would 
settle in Jerusalem ? The only alleged Nazirite of 
New Testament times, the Baptist, lived in the desert. 
Was such a Nazirite likely to marry ? Samson and 
Samuel were indeed married ; but even allowing that 
they were Nazirites, there is no evidence that they 
lived the ascetic life attributed by tradition to James. 
Was a Nazirite likely to be chosen to occupy a chief, 
if not the chief place in the Church of Jerusalem ? 
Would not his vow have restricted his movements and 
lessened his usefulness ? But, above all, how could 
a Nazirite take part in the Lord s Supper ? If James 
was a Nazirite, did he break his vow habitually when 
he sat down with his fellow-Christians at the Lord s 
Supper, or did he abstain altogether from participation 
in that ordinance ? Either supposition is incredible, 
and this incredibility is the disproof of the assertion 
that James was a Nazirite, since the essence of the 
Nazirite vow was abstinence from wine and from 
intoxicating liquor of every kind. 


It is natural to inquire whether James during the 
formative years of his life came under the influence 
either of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, or the Essenes. 
That he was affected by the opinions and policy of 
the Sadducees has never been suggested, for there is 
no possible affinity between his tastes and hopes and 
theirs. On the other hand, it has been supposed that 
the views of the Pharisees may have told powerfully 
upon him ; and some find in the severely legal 
attitude commonly ascribed to him the proof that he 
embraced their tenets and practices. That James 
was not enrolled among the Pharisees can scarcely 
be questioned. That party numbered only a few 
thousands, and there is no reason for holding that 
James was ever one of them. Was he governed by 
the motives which led to the formation of the party ? 
Was he more particularly of the same type as 
Shammai, stern, rigorous (this is the view of Eders- 
heim), and strenuously devoted to the practice of all 
the rites and ceremonies enjoined by tradition ? Not a 
tittle of evidence exists to show that he was such. 
And unless it be supposed that after his conversion 
he became altogether different from what he formerly 
was, and of this there is no proof, his Epistle 
demonstrates that of the spirit of Shammai or even 
of the spirit of Hillel he possessed not a trace. The 
feature common to these two great leaders of the 
school is the purpose to elaborate and define the 
ceremonial and ritual Law. But these aspects of the 
Law are altogether ignored by James. Accordingly, 


it must not be taken for granted that James was a 
Pharisee in practice if not in name, addicted to the 
observance of every precept of tradition, and striving 
to achieve for himself perfect conformity to the will of 
God in this respect. He was much rather a man of 
the people, on whom the Pharisees would have looked 
down as accursed because of his ignorance of the Law. 
But if James was neither a Pharisee nor a 
Sadducee, and probably unmoved by the views or 
influence of either of these parties, was he not pro 
foundly affected by the Essenes ? Did he not adopt 
their convictions and usages ? Was he not himself 
an Essene ? Those writers who have sought to prove 
that the influence of the Essenes was extensive, have 
not hesitated to include James among the adherents 
of the party. The chief evidence on which they rely 
is the description of his mode of life as given by 
Hegesippus. But that description cannot be shown 
to depend on the personal knowledge of Hegesippus, 
and is indeed probably derived from an apocryphal 
writing composed in the interests of a heretical sect 
and without the slightest regard to historical truth. 
Besides, the narrative of Hegesippus ascribes practices 
to James wholly at variance with Jewish usage ; and 
there is not the slightest reason for accepting that 
portion of it which is supposed to speak of him as 
virtually an Essene, and for rejecting the rest. The 
narrative is of a piece, and must be accepted or 
rejected as a whole. Further, Hegesippus himself 
never calls James an Essene, and, indeed, there are no 


clear and certain features of Essenism in the portrait 
he draws. The truth is, that it was impossible for 
a Christian to be an Essene, or for an Essene to be a 
Christian. Most, if not all, Essenes belonged to a 
brotherhood distinguished by common meals, worship, 
and possessions. With few exceptions they rejected 
marriage. All of them disbelieved in the resurrection 
of the body, condemned the animal sacrifices, and 
cherished a secret creed. Such tenets and usages 
are wholly alien to the spirit and laws of Christianity. 
(The analogies pointed out between Christianity and 
Essenism by Dr. Ginsburg in his article on the 
Essenes in Smith s Dictionary of Christian Biography 
are at the best superficial, and certainly furnish no 
proof that Christianity sprang from Essenism, or that 
a Christian could be an Essene.) 

Several changes of great importance probably 
occurred in the household of Nazareth before our 
Lord entered on His public ministry. The greatest 
of these would undoubtedly be the death of Joseph. 
The opinion that Joseph died while our Lord was 
living in private is probably correct. His name is not 
mentioned on several occasions upon which, had he 
been alive, it would almost certainly have been given. 
j-- It can scarcely be questioned that, had her husband 
been alive, Mary would not have been entrusted by 
our Lord to the care of John (Jn 19 27 ). The fact 
that when our Lord visited Nazareth the names of 
His mother and brothers are mentioned and not that 
of His reputed father, suggests that he had died before 


this visit (Mk 6 lff< ). Again, when it is related that 
His mother and brothers sought an interview with 
Him at Capernaum at what must have seemed to 
them a critical moment in His career, the inference 
must be that Joseph was dead ; otherwise the absence 
of his name would be inexplicable. The earliest 
notice of Mary and her sons in the Gospels favours 
the same conclusion. Immediately after the perform 
ance of His first miracle, our Lord, accompanied by 
His mother and brothers and certain disciples, went 
down from Nazareth to Capernaum (Jn 2 12 ). Joseph 
would almost certainly have been included in this group 
had he been alive. It may, then, be taken for granted 
that Joseph died before our Lord s public ministry 
began. The date of his death is altogether unknown. 
No credibility attaches to the statement of the 
History of Joseph the Carpenter (chaps. 10. 15. 29) 
that he died at the age of one hundred and eleven, 
and about the nineteenth year of our Lord s life 
(14. 15). The death of Joseph must have altered 
to some extent the relations between our Lord and 
His younger brothers. By that event He became 
more responsible than before for the maintenance 
and wellbeing of His mother and of any members 
of the family unable to support themselves. It 
would also tend to increase His moral authority within 
the home. The circumstance that He was now its 
oldest male member and probably the chief bread 
winner, would add to the intrinsic weight of His 
character and counsels. 


Other changes, too, may have taken place within 
the family circle before our Lord entered upon His 
public career. Most if not all the brothers and 
sisters may have set up homes of their own. This 
was probably the case with James, as late marriages 
were not common among the Jews. It is even 
possible that Mary and our Lord were left in the 
home at Nazareth alone. On the other hand, one 
or two members of the family may still have remained 
under the roof at the time when His ministry began. 



OUK Lord s brethren are first mentioned shortly 
after the miracle at Cana. " After this He 
went down to Capernaum, He, and His mother, and 
His brothers, and His disciples, and there they abode 
not many days" (Jn 2 12 ). Mary s sons apparently 
did not accompany her to the marriage at Cana, for 
no notice is taken of their presence there. After the 
miracle our Lord and His mother, with, it would 
seem, the earliest disciples as their guests, returned 
to Nazareth ; and shortly after the same company, 
with the addition of our Lord s brothers, went down 
to Capernaum, perhaps on the invitation of Andrew 
and Peter. They may have proposed to visit 
Jerusalem at the ensuing feast of the Passover. It 
has sometimes been asserted that our Lord s family 
had either already quitted Nazareth or did so on this 
occasion, settling in Capernaum. But would Philip 
have described our Lord as of Nazareth had His home 
been in Capernaum ? (Jn I 45 ). Again, the phrase 
" not many days " favours the view that our Lord 
went there to visit rather than to reside* Perhaps 


what He saw of Capernaum on this occasion may 
have led Him to fix His residence there when He 
began His ministry in Galilee (Mt 4 13 ). The cir 
cumstance that our Lord s brothers went with Him 
to Capernaum along with His disciples, is a proof of 
the closeness of the ties uniting our Lord and them. 
No shadow of estrangement had as yet fallen upon 
their relations. If the brothers were married by 
this time, the strength of their attachment to our 
Lord appears only the greater. 

Were Mary and His brothers influenced by other 
motives than those of friendliness when they went 
down to Capernaum ? Had Mary or the disciples 
told the brothers of the miracle at Cana ? And were 
mother, brothers, and disciples alike elated by the 
hope that Jesus was about to inaugurate His 
Messianic career ? Did they anticipate that 
Capernaum would be the theatre in which He would 
work still greater marvels than that of Cana ? The 
casual statement of John regarding their journey 
hardly countenances any such opinion. No trace 
of the existence of such motives is found in the text. 
No indication is given of any connection between 
the miracle and the step taken by Mary and the 
brothers. As there is no proof that our Lord 
remained more than a short time at Capernaum, or 
wrought any miracles there, it is wiser to hold that 
the motives governing the action of Mary and her 
sons were those of ordinary friendship. (Godet on 
Lk 2 12 holds that they were under the impression 


of the miracle of Cana, and were curious to see how 
the drama which had begun in so amazing a manner 
would unfold.) 

The next occasion on which our Lord s brothers 
are mentioned in the Gospels is when they sought 
to interfere with His labours (Mk 3 20 - 21 - 31 ). The 
time was probably in the autumn of A.D. 27. He 
had just re-entered Capernaum, but the excitement 
created by His presence was such that it was im 
possible for Him to obtain leisure even to eat. His 
fame as a teacher and worker of miracles had spread 
abroad, and vast numbers sought to see Him and to 
be taught or cured by Him. Meanwhile He had 
become the object of the growing hostility of the 
religious teachers of the nation, and His popularity 
and miracles were viewed with malignant eyes by 
some who came from Jerusalem. Unable to deny 
the reality of His miracles, they suggested that they 
were wrought through His alliance with Satan. It 
would seem that information regarding our Lord s 
ceaseless enthusiasm and energy, and possibly, too, 
regarding the charge of complicity with Satan made 
by the Pharisees, reached the ears of Mary and her 
children in Nazareth. Unable to explain His actions, 
they leant to the conclusion that His mind had given 
way. Only thus could they account for the crowds 
He allowed to assemble round Him, and for His 
neglect of the most obvious rules of health, to say 
nothing of His disregard of the hostility of the 
Pharisees. The spiritual passion by which He was 


inspired was taken by them to be a nervous excite 
ment denoting insanity. 

Whether the suggestion that our Lord s brain was 
affected occurred first to the family or was made 
to them by others cannot be known. But it is 
possible that the news brought to them was accom 
panied by some such expression of opinion. Perhaps, 
too, the insinuation of the Pharisees, that He was in 
league with Satan, if reported to them, may have 
confirmed their belief that His reason had given way. 
For His own sake, therefore, it was necessary to place 
Him under restraint. His mind would recover its 
tone and balance if only He were living quietly with 
them again. The crisis was grave, and hence common 
action was required. Accordingly Mary and her 
sons, and probably, too, her daughters, set out from 
Nazareth for Capernaum in order to bring Him home 
with them. 

It has here been taken for granted that the friends 
of Jesus (Mk 3 21 ) are identical with His mother 
and brethren (Mk 3 31 ). No ordinary reader con 
siders that the friends and the mother and 
brethren should be distinguished. He concludes 
that the address of our Lord to the scribes from 
Jerusalem is interposed between the narrative of 
the statement made by His friends and the arrival 
of His mother and brothers, because it was actually 
delivered in the interval between these events. It 
is contended, however, that the incidents must be 
distinct, the first describing the language and conduct 


of certain adherents of our Lord, and the second the 
action of our Lord s nearest relatives. The words 
spoken, the step taken by the adherents, are declared 
to be inconceivable in the case of our Lord s mother 
and brothers. In this connection there has been 
much discussion as to the force of the phrase rendered 
His friends/ and its significance has been regarded 
as decisive of the question in dispute. This, however, 
is not the case. The expression is neutral in 
character. It can designate Mary and the brothers 
and sisters of our Lord, but it can equally denote 
disciples more or less intimate. The decision of the 
question really turns on this : Is it probable that 
our Lord s mother and brothers could have spoken 
and acted in the manner here described ? Have we 
such knowledge of their state of mind as entitles 
us to argue thus ? Are we so acquainted with their 
views touching our Lord that we can say confidently 
that they could not have regarded His mind as 
unsettled ? Besides, is there less difficulty in 
believing that our Lord s mother and brothers pro 
nounced Him insane and took steps to take Him 
home with them, than in believing that such language 
was used and such action taken by mere adherents ? 
The friends are admittedly not the Twelve. They are 
said to have belonged to an outer circle of disciples. 
Were such persons likely to form any such judgment ? 
Would they not more naturally have been lost in 
admiration of our Lord s absorption in His task ? 
Would they, believing our Lord to be a prophet or 


the Messiah, have ventured to take the liberty of 
arresting Him ? Further, the narrative of Mark 
alone enables us to comprehend the motives of our 
Lord s relatives. Eefuse to identify the two incidents, 
and the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke as to 
the visit paid to Capernaum by our Lord s mother 
and brothers become altogether obscure. The purpose 
which brought them there, and the tone and substance 
of our Lord s reply, are a hopeless riddle. A rebuke 
so direct and severe, however tenderly spoken, pre 
supposes just such language and conduct as Mark 
describes. On all grounds, then, the conclusion 
obviously suggested by the text of Mark, that the 
two incidents are one and the same, must be accepted. 
(Farrar, Life of Christ, i. 282, distinguishes the inci 
dents, but makes those who came to arrest Him His 
kinsmen and immediate family. But why in this case 
separate the incidents? He also (i. 325) regards 
Lk 8 19 as different from Mt 12 46 , Mk 3 21 on account 
of the context. But was such an incident likely to 
occur a second time ?) 

Our Lord s mother and brothers were accompanied, 
according to some texts, by His sisters. If the 
reading be correct, it is full of significance. Our 
Lord s sisters almost certainly lived at Nazareth, and 
it would therefore seem that the news of His 
extraordinary labours and the popular rumours con 
cerning Him, and possibly of the terrible charge 
brought against Him by the scribes from Jerusalem, 
had been carried to Nazareth, and that our Lord s 


entire family believed it to be their duty to place 
Him under restraint in order to preserve His sanity. 
If, as is highly probable, the sisters were married 
women, the apprehension with which they viewed 
our Lord s action is only the graver. Nothing but 
the conviction that a crisis was impending, that the 
reason of their brother was in jeopardy, and that 
the family honour was at stake, could have induced 
them to act as they did. 

When they arrived, our Lord was teaching in a 
house. His audience apparently consisted of disciples 
only. But their numbers were so great that it was 
impossible for Mary and her children to find 
admission. Unwilling to divulge the purpose for 
which they had come, they sent a message asking 
to speak with Him. It was passed from one to 
another, and at last reached our Lord in the form, 
" Thy mother and thy brothers without seek for 
Thee." There was nothing in the tone and substance 
of the request to create displeasure. But our Lord 
discerned intuitively their anxiety and their unbelief. 
His answer, so far as they were concerned, was a 
rebuke in the form of a general principle. " Who," 
He asked, " is My mother and My brothers ? " 
Stretching out His hand and gazing on the crowd 
of disciples before Him, He exclaimed, "Behold My 
mother and My brothers ! For whosoever shall do the 
will of God, the same is My brother, and sister, and 

Whether or not our Lord, after speaking thus, 


saw His mother and brothers, cannot be decided. 
But His reply must have made it perfectly plain to 
them that He resented and condemned their 
interference. However pure their motives, they 
had intruded into a province which was not theirs, 
and had sought to arrest the work which God had 
given Him to do. It cannot for a moment be 
supposed that He believed they were influenced by 
vanity or pride, or wished to be known as His 
relatives, or to exhibit their influence over Him. 
He knew that it was solicitude for His welfare that 
had brought them there. But He recognised at the 
same time the difference between their motives and 
ideals and His, and felt that the time had come 
when He must kindly but firmly make this difference 
plain to them and to others. He had no wish to 
slight them. Never was His heart fuller of affection, 
but He felt the supreme importance of doing the will 
of God, and how necessary it was that He should put 
aside and blame any interference with that will. 
Doubtless none of those who listened to His words 
imagined that He was wanting in respect or love 
for His relatives. But they could not fail to be 
thrilled with unwonted emotion when they perceived 
the force of the principle He laid down. As Jews 
they attached the highest importance to their 
nationality, many of them believing that their descent 
constituted of itself a claim upon God. Further, 
no obligations were in their eyes weightier or more 
imperative than those of children to their parents. 


But they were now taught that spiritual ties were 
infinitely more important than the ties of race and 
kindred, and that relationship to the Messiah was 
based on likeness of disposition and not on blood. 
The mother and brothers of the Messiah had no 
unique privilege. Every one who was willing to 
obey God could stand in as intimate a relation to 
Him as His mother, and brothers, and sisters. It 
was impossible for our Lord to expound more plainly 
His conviction of the absolute supremacy of the will 
of God over His own life and the lives of others, 
and the consequent superiority of spiritual ties to 
those of blood. 

It is plain from this incident that not only our 
Lord s brothers and sisters, but even Mary herself 
did not understand Him. Our Lord would never 
have referred so pointedly to His mother had she 
not been as active in the movement to arrest Him 
as her children. It is manifest that, even though 
she doubtless believed Him to be the Messiah, 
she could still cherish the opinion that His mind 
had been overtaxed. Her view that He was the 
Messiah was perfectly compatible with the opinion 
that He was not invariably engaged in the Messiah s 
work. She evidently believed that what He was 
doing at this time was no part of His task as the 
Messiah. The brothers doubtless did not cherish 
her conviction that He was the Messiah, and con 
sequently they would have still less difficulty than 
she had in concluding that His reason had given way. 


An incidental but most important reference to our 
Lord s home is contained in the account of a visit 
to Nazareth (Mk 6 1 - 6 Mt IS 54 " 58 ). This visit to 
Nazareth must be distinguished from that described 
in Lk 4 16 . For the two narratives, while similar 
in certain respects, differ widely in others, and these 
the most important. Examination shows that our 
Lord on the one occasion is but entering on His public 
life, whereas on the other He appears in the fulness 
of His reputation. The motives which induced our 
Lord to pay a second visit to Nazareth are easily 
understood. Notwithstanding the attempt to kill 
Him made on the occasion of His first visit, notwith 
standing, too, the rejection of His claims by His nearest 
relatives, He cherished a warm affection for the village 
in which He had been brought up, and a still intenser 
love for the members of His family circle. He doubt 
less wished to enjoy the solace and delight of intercourse 
with His friends, as well as to offer again to His fellow- 
citizens that gospel of which He was at once the 
preacher and the substance. The time of the visit 
cannot be fixed with absolute certainty. But it took 
place before our Lord s popularity had begun to wane. 
It was apparently when His fame was at its height 
that, accompanied by His disciples, He returned to the 
village from which He derived His name of Nazarene. 
On His arrival He doubtless sought and found 
hospitality under His mother s roof. It has frequently 
been assumed that His mother and her sons had by 
this time gone to live in Capernaum. But for this 


supposition there is no conclusive evidence, and the 
reference made by our Lord on this occasion to His own 
home rather suggests that His mother and brothers 
were still resident in Nazareth. Nor does the refer 
ence to the sisters as living in Nazareth necessarily 
imply that the brothers did not live there too. Such 
an interpretation is possible, but is not required. 
What, now, was the character of our Lord s relations 
with His mother and brothers on this occasion ? "Vv^as 
the visit a source of unmixed joy to Him or to them ? 
That strong personal love between them still existed, 
cannot be questioned. But that the shadow of dis 
trust and even of estrangement had fallen upon them, 
is not less true. On the subject that lay nearest to 
our Lord s heart there could not be absolute confidence 
between them, for as yet His claims to be the Messiah 
were not admitted by them. His wisdom, His 
miracles, His success had not convinced them that He 
was the Messiah. Their attitude was that of doubt 
rather than of unbelief. They could not deny, but 
they could not affirm, that He was the Messiah. 
Their minds were in a state of vacillation. They 
would gladly have believed in Him, but mean 
while could not. Their attitude could hardly have 
remained unknown to their fellow-townsmen, and may 
in part have been produced by the sentiments which 
they knew were held within the village. As our 
Lord s visit to the village was not merely to find rest 
and quiet, and to see His relatives, but also to preach 
the gospel, He took advantage of the opportunity 


afforded by the public worship of the Synagogue and 
the Sabbath to address His assembled townsmen. 
The subject on which He spoke has not been recorded ; 
but it doubtless bore on the kingdom which He had 
come to set up. Whether it contained any reference 
to Himself cannot be determined. The grace, the 
wisdom, the authority with which He spoke powerfully 
impressed His hearers. The majority were surprised 
at the language He used and also at the miracles 
which common report declared He wrought, and began 
to ask what was the source from which His endow 
ments came, and what was their true nature. They 
had undoubtedly been given Him, but by whom ? 
How came He to be unlike His brothers and sisters ? 
He had been a carpenter : He was the son of Mary, and 
the brother of James, and Joses, and Jude, and Simon. 
His sisters also were among them. None of these 
possessed exceptional qualifications or had achieved 
exceptional distinction. Whence, then, had Jesus 
gained His wisdom and His miraculous powers ? 
Blinded by envy, they could not understand how one 
of themselves, with no advantages, educated among 
them, the disciple of no famous Eabbi, should suddenly 
have become one of the most prominent and 
distinguished persons in the land, and should be 
regarded by many as actually the Messiah. His 
power as a teacher and worker of miracles could not 
be questioned. His words and acts spoke for them 
selves. Such powers must be derived from some 
source. They could not be accounted for by the past 


life of Jesus. They were certainly not derived from 
any great living teacher. Whence, then, had they 
come ? Were they His honestly ? Were they used 
by Him for proper ends ? Might He not be other than 
He professed to be ? Such difficulties filled them with 
perplexity and indignation. Unwilling to admit Him 
to be what His words and acts fairly interpreted pro 
claimed Him, they took offence at Him and declined 
to receive His message. Instead of regarding His 
career as reflecting the highest honour on their village, 
instead of confessing that He was a prophet and 
messenger of God, they insinuated to one another that 
the mystery attending the origin of His powers was 
such as to make their source more than questionable. 

It is possible that whispers to this effect passed 
from lip to lip after our Lord had finished His address. 
At any rate their attitude, their gestures, their expres 
sion taught our Lord that He had spoken in vain. 
Accordingly He felt compelled to repeat the declaration 
He had made on the occasion of His former visit, " A 
prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, 
and among his own kin, and in his own house." These 
words of our Lord s (Mk 6 4 ) illustrate strikingly 
the extent of the unbelief of His fellow-townsmen. 
Even His kinsmen, even the members of His own 
family, had not received Him as a prophet. From this 
language it is apparent that the nearest relatives of 
our Lord remained in unbelief. His visit was ineffectual 
so far as their conversion was concerned. Further, 
the frame of mind of the Nazarenes, their hostility, or, 


at any rate, their distrust, rendered it impossible for 
Him to perform among them those miraculous cures 
which He would gladly have wrought. One of the 
conditions of these cures was faith, and that faith 
existed only among a few, and apparently but to a 
limited extent. He was only able to lay His hands 
on a few sick folk and heal them. The unbelief of 
His fellow-townsmen filled our Lord with profound 
surprise. He had expected to be received differently. 
He had cherished the hope that now that His fame 
was established His message might have been 
welcomed, and that such faith would have been re 
posed in Him as the Founder of the kingdom of God 
that He would have been able to make full use of 
His miraculous resources. To His astonishment His 
reception was cold and even hostile, and He was 
therefore morally unable to perform the acts of heal 
ing and of mercy He had contemplated. 

The last mention of the brothers of our Lord in 
the Gospels is in connection with the Feast of 
Tabernacles preceding His death, 29th October 
(Jn 7 3 ). By this time our Lord had ceased to be 
popular. The manner in which He had rejected 
the crown that would have been thrust upon Him 
had alienated the great body of His adherents in 
Galilee. It might then have been supposed that 
He would have gone into Judaea to see whether 
He could achieve better results there. But this 
was impossible, because the authorities were eager 
to compass His death. Hence our Lord, unwilling 


to precipitate His fate, remained in Galilee. At 
the preceding Passover He had not gone up to the 
metropolis, and it appeared that He had no intention 
of repairing thither at this feast. This conduct was 
inexplicable to our Lord s brothers. It seemed to 
them most unwise. Accordingly, they counselled 
Him to go up to the capital and there announce 
Himself as the Messiah. Only in Jerusalem could 
the Messianic kingdom be inaugurated. There 
and there only could His title to be the Messiah 
be tested and determined. His disciples from 
all quarters of the land would be found at the 
festival. And if they only witnessed the miracles 
that He was performing in comparative privacy in 
Galilee they would undoubtedly declare in His favour. 
If Jesus wished to be accepted as the Messiah, the 
miracles He wrought should be done in the face of 
the world. To profess to be the Messiah and to 
work miracles known only to a few, was to act 
inconsistently. A wise man did nothing in secret 
which he wished to be openly known. It is 
expressly said by John that our Lord s brothers in 
giving this advice did not believe in Him (7 5 ). 
No doubt the motives influencing the brothers were 
of the most honourable kind. To_attribute to them, 
as has sometimes been done, malice or treachery 
or even vanity, is to treat them unjustly. They 
were solicitous for His honour and theirs. They 
wished their own doubts set at rest. His miracles 
formed the ground of faith in Him. They should 


then be wrought in the most public manner, and 
thus the whole nation would be brought to admit 
His claims. It is not necessary to suppose that 
our Lord s miracles were less open than before. 
What the brothers desired was that they should 
be performed at the national festival now approach 
ing, where they could be seen and estimated by all. 
Their Brother s action on so small and contracted 
a scale was to them incomprehensible. True wisdom 
dictated that He should quit Galilee for Jerusalem, 
work miracles there, and so announce Himself to the 
whole Jewish people as the Messiah. 

It is plain from the language of John that the 
unbelief of the brothers was a surprise to him when 
he wrote the Gospel. Our Lord s brothers might 
naturally have been expected to be among the 
earliest of His disciples. Their familiarity with 
His character and life was unrivalled. None knew 
so well His utter unselfishness, His stainless purity, 
His absolute obedience to the will of God. Besides, 
their opportunities of witnessing His miracles were 
also great. How then is their unbelief to be ex 
plained ? Doubtless their very intimacy with our 
Lord blinded them to His real greatness. It never 
occurred to James or his brothers or sisters that 
Jesus was so very different from themselves. 
Probably they never realised that He was sinless 
or perfect, still less that He was the Kedeemer of 
man and Himself God. 

Again, His life and teaching caused them much 


perplexity. His ideals and methods were other 
than theirs. His view of the kingdom of God, 
His conception of the functions of the Messiah, 
and of the means by which the kingdom was to 
be established, were wholly different from theirs. 
In common with the rest of the nation they 
believed that the Messiah was to be a great national 
hero who was to throw off the yoke of Eome, set 
Himself on the throne of David in Jerusalem, and 
wield there the sceptre which would determine the 
destinies of all the nations of the earth. The 
Messiah of popular expectation was a warrior king. 
Accordingly the peaceful career of our Lord generated 
doubts in the minds even of those most favourably 
disposed towards Him. The originality of His 
teaching, its purity and elevation, and even its 
extraordinary power and authority, could not dispel 
these doubts. If He were the Messiah, He would 
certainly make some effort to rally the nation to 
His standard in order to destroy the hated domina 
tion of Eome. Further, the members of our Lord s 
family, just because of their ordinary education and 
low social rank, were the more dependent on the 
judgment of others, and hence were strongly affected 
by the doubts so widely felt regarding His claims. 

The reply of our Lord to the counsel of His i 
brothers reveals the cleavage existing between their 
modes of thought and His. He doubtless recognised 
that the advice given Him was well intentioned and 
friendly. He did full justice to their motives, but 


He felt that it was impossible to comply with their 
request. This impossibility He made plain by stating 
that the attitude of the world to Him was altogether 
different from its attitude to them. They were at 
all times free to go up to Jerusalem or not. They 
would encounter no danger when there, for they 
thought and spoke and acted like the rest of their 
fellow-countrymen. The world and they were on 
excellent terms, for they belonged to the world. 
Hence the world could not hate them. But it 
hated Him, and the ground of its hatred was that 
He bore witness to the evil which it tolerated and 
cherished. Wherever He went He came into 
collision with it, because its motives and purposes 
were alien to the will of God. He was compelled 
to denounce its moral standard, its modes of thought, 
its aspirations, its achievements. Its works He 
condemned as evil because not in accordance with 
the will of God. Such condemnation elicited the 
hostility of the world. The time of His manifesta 
tion was not yet come. He would show Himself 
to the world. He would proclaim Himself in the 
capital as the Messiah. But in doing so He must 
select the proper moment. 

Our Lord s brothers cannot have comprehended 
His answer fully. Had they understood His words, 
they would doubtless have been appalled by the 
revelation which they gave of the consequence of 
acting on their counsel. When their brother 
revealed Himself in Jerusalem as the Messiah, it 


was to enter on the way to His death. The cross 
of Calvary was the throne of David. 

No plainer indication of the state of mind of our 
Lord s brothers, within six months of His death, could 
be given than that furnished by His assertion " that 
they were of the world." This clearly proves that 
as yet they did not believe in His mission or accept 
His teaching. They may have wished to do so. 
Perhaps they would gladly have believed in Him ; 
but believe in Him they did not. 

Jesus remained in Galilee ; the brothers went to 
the feast. They heard His pretensions discussed on 
every side. Opinion was strongly divided regarding 
Him. But the populace hesitated to avow openly 
their convictions, whether hostile or favourable, until 
the hierarchy had spoken. What effect the visit to 
the Feast of Tabernacles had upon the brothers is 
unknown. Probably they quitted the capital in much 
the same state of mind as they entered it. 

These are the only passages in the Gospels which 
refer to our Lord s brothers. The circumstance that 
James is never mentioned apart from the rest is plainly 
significant. Had he been other than they, had his 
views or practices been separate, some notice of this 
would almost certainly have been preserved. The 
fact that none of our Lord s brothers is distinguished 
from the rest, shows that so long as He lived they 
were practically one in sentiment and mode of life. 

No further reference is made to the brothers of 
our Lord in the Gospels, and accordingly it is hnpos- 


sible to say what view they took of the later stages 
of our Lord s career. It is not probable that their 
opinions underwent any change. They continued 
in suspense to the last moment of His life, and His 
execution probably served to extinguish the last 
gleams of the hope that He might be the Messiah. 
Whether they were in Jerusalem at that event is a 
point as to which evidence is wanting. There is 
nothing in the Gospels which indicates their presence. 
Not much stress can be laid on the argument that as 
pious Jews they would be sure to repair to the 
capital at the Passover, as this practice, though 
general, was not rigidly observed. Nor can any 
unquestionable conclusions be drawn from the fact 
that our Lord when dying committed His mother to 
the care of John. This action is undoubtedly more 
easily understood if the brothers were absent from 
Jerusalem for a time. But it might have been taken 
even though they, like Mary and John, had been 
standing by the Cross. As there is, then, no positive 
proof that the brethren were in Jerusalem at the 
time of the Crucifixion, it is improper to take for 
granted, as has been often done, that they were 
there. (Plumptre, James, 21, believes that the 
brethren were present at the Crucifixion.) But to 
affirm confidently that they were absent is equally 

Our Lord when dying entrusted His mother to the 
charge of John. What light is cast by this action 
on the relations between His mother, His brothers, 


and Himself ? The step, it has been argued, is a 
demonstration that the brothers were not the children 
of Mary. Our Lord could not have commanded 
John to become a son to Mary had James and his 
brothers been her sons. Such action is hardly 
credible in itself, and is rendered still less credible 
by the circumstance that the brothers immediately 
became Christians, and are mentioned as present in 
Jerusalem along with Mary after the Ascension. 
Could our Lord, it is asked, have snapt asunder the 
most sacred ties of natural affection and committed 
His mother to the care of a stranger while her sons 
were living in the same city ? (Lightfoot, Gal 2645). 
These considerations are weighty, but cannot disprove 
the testimonies which show that the brothers of the 
Lord were the children of Mary. Besides, they tell 
almost as powerfully against the opinion that they 
were step-brothers as against the opinion that they 
were full brothers. For the manner in which Mary 
is spoken of along with the brothers proves that the 
ties between them were of the strongest and tenderest. 
They invariably treated her as their mother and 
regarded themselves as her sons. Why, then, did our 
Lord pass over such step-brothers and entrust His 
mother to a so-called stranger ? Is not this conduct 
almost as inexplicable on the Epiphanian as on the 
Helvidian theory ? The difficulty is real and great 
on any hypothesis, when the relations between Mary 
and the brothers as set forth in the Gospels are borne 
in mind. Nor is it greatly diminished on the 


assumption that the stranger was our Lord s nephew, 
the son of Salome, and the nearest relative by blood 
of our Lord. For obviously, according to the Gospels, 
the brethren of our Lord stood in a much closer 
relation to Mary than John did. Moreover, on this 
view, John had a mother of his own, who may also, 
like Mary, have been a widow. Why, then, was 
Mary given as a mother to a disciple who had a 
mother of his own, and who may possibly have 
been a widow living under his roof ? Probably 
the motive which governed our Lord was love 
for His mother. No distrust or disapproval of 
His brothers mingled with that love. Were all the 
facts known, the step would appear natural and 
befitting. Mary might have been able to obtain in 
the house of John comfort, quiet, and attention other 
wise beyond her reach. The brothers of the Lord 
were probably married. If John were unmarried, 
what more becoming than that Mary should spend 
the rest of her life with him ? Why should not 
the two persons who apparently enjoyed most of 
our Lord s affection have been given to one another 
by our Lord ? Besides, is it not possible to make 
too much of the ties of natural affection, in 
this matter ? Is it certain that our Lord would 
have granted a supreme place to mere relationship ? 
Would He not have subordinated the ties of blood 
to the higher consideration of what was best for His 
mother and for all concerned ? It may then be 
concluded that the committal of Mary to John is no 


proof that the relations between her and her sons 
were changed for the worse. Mother and sons were 
still as dear to one another as before. It was the 
same with the brothers of Jesus. He did not deem 
them unworthy or unfit to take charge of His 
mother, but He knew that in the house of John 
she would be better provided for than anywhere 

It has already been suggested that the Crucifixion 
destroyed any hopes that our Lord s brothers may 
have cherished that He was the Messiah. His death 
was the verdict of God on His claims. However 
highly they honoured His character, however keenly 
they resented His unjust sentence, they could not 
but esteem it impossible to hold now that He was 
the Messiah. The faith even of the Apostles was 
shattered by His execution, how much more that of 
the brothers who had never owned His claims ! More 
over, the notion of a resurrection was still more 
foreign to the minds of the brothers than to those 
of the Apostles. 

Jesus rose from the dead, and among those to 
whom He appeared was James (1 Co lo 7 ). It would 
seem as if this were among the last of our Lord s 
appearances during the forty days. The place cannot 
be determined. It may have been Galilee ; it may 
have been Jerusalem. If James was not in Jerusalem 
at the Passover, the place was probably somewhere in 
Galilee, possibly Nazareth. This appearance to James 
is the only one not made to a known believer. Had 


any rumours of the resurrection previously reached 
James ? Had he learned that Jesus had appeared to 
His disciples in Jerusalem ? Did his mother inform 
him that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead and 
had spoken with the Twelve ? Had his doubts begun 
to give way ? Had they vanished, or was he still in 
perplexity ? Whatever his state of mind, he soon 
received personal confirmation of the resurrection. 
His Brother appeared to him. Only the fact is 
recorded. What would we not give for even a few 
fragments of the conversation then held ? How 
gentle the blame with which our Lord censured His 
brother for his unbelief ! How deep that brother s 
self-reproach and shame ! that he of all others should 
not have recognised the Messiah ! that kinsmen and 
strangers should have had keener spiritual discern 
ment than himself I that he should have been deaf 
and blind to the evidence that persuaded them ! and 
such evidence ! If he had only weighed it as he 
should ! The interview dispelled for ever his own 
conception of the Messiah, and rendered him thence 
forward a whole-hearted and energetic Christian. 

The opinion that James owed his conversion to 
an appearance of the risen Lord has been disputed on 
the ground that our Lord appeared to believers only, 
not to unbelievers; and it has been suggested that 
his unbelief gave way when he heard from Mary his 
mother and from the Apostles that Jesus had risen 
from the dead (Dale, Epistle of James, 5). This 
opinion is quite tenable, because, in the absence of 


any report as to the conversion of James, we are 
left to weigh probabilities, and the explanation that 
he was led by the testimony of his mother and the 
Apostles to abandon his unbelief is in no way improb 
able. At the same time, it is not more worthy of 
acceptance, probably less so, than the view commonly 
adopted. The general law to which it appeals, that 
our Lord after His resurrection manifested Himself 
only to those who had already believed on Him, is 
not laid down in Scripture, and is a mere inference 
from His appearances as recorded there. For anything 
known to the contrary, the case of James may have 
differed from all the other cases mentioned. That the 
principle is not absolute is shown by the appearance of 
our Lord to Paul, an instance which cannot be detached 
from the rest, for Paul himself treats it as similar. 
If our Lord, then, appeared to Paul to create faith, 
He may have acted in the same way towards James. 
If James still doubted even after he had heard of the 
resurrection, what more signal proof of his Brother s 
love for him and desire that he should be His could 
have been given than a special manifestation of Him 
self such as He vouchsafed to Peter ? It is easier to 
explain the appearance to James on the hypothesis 
that he was an unbeliever than on the hypothesis 
that he was a believer : all the more as, unlike the 
others to whom our Lord appeared, he was probably 
not a believer until after the resurrection. A 
manifestation of our Lord to produce faith is more 
probable than one to strengthen faith : for what James 


needed was to be convinced of the resurrection. Once 
sure of this fact, his faith became as a rock. 

An account of our Lord s appearance to James is 
contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and 
has frequently been regarded as embodying an 
authentic tradition. The originality and simplicity 
of the narrative are pronounced not unworthy of the 
genuine Gospels (Mayor, James, xxxvii). The passage 
which deserves careful examination is, with Jerome s 
explanatory observations, as follows (de Vir, Illust. 
2) : " The Gospel entitled according to the Hebrews, 
which I lately translated into Greek and Latin, and 
which Origen often quotes, contains the following 
narrative after the resurrection. Now the Lord, 
when He had given the cloth to the servant of the 
priest, went to James and appeared to him. For 
James had taken an oath that he would not eat bread 
from that hour on which he had drunk the cup of the 
Lord till he saw Him risen from the dead. Again a 
little afterwards the Lord says, Bring a table and 
bread. Immediately it is added : He took bread, and 
blessed, and brake it, and gave it to James the Just, 
and said to him, My brother, eat thy bread ; for the 
Son of Man has risen from the dead. " 

What opinion should be formed of this narrative ? 
Is it trustworthy ? The principal statement which it 
makes is that James took the vow described. Is it 
reasonable or possible to believe that he made any 
such vow ? The vow is plainly the expression of a 
triumphant faith in the future resurrection of our 


Lord. Now, that James believed in our Lord at the 
date of the Supper is contrary to all the evidence we 
possess. Yet he is not only represented as a believer, 
but as possessing a faith to which Peter and the 
Apostles were utter strangers. So certain is he that 
the resurrection is near, that he will vow not to eat 
again till it is accomplished. It is needless to point 
out how utterly contradictory to the Gospels is this 
representation of the mood and expectations of any 
of those who partook of the Last Supper. The account 
of the vow from first to last is fiction, and fiction 
which utterly misconceives the situation of our Lord 
and His Apostles at the time. The terms of the 
alleged vow are chiefly taken from our Lord s words 
regarding Himself, " I will not drink from henceforth 
of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall 
come" (Lk 22 18 ), and placed in the lips of James. 
The passage, then, contains not a genuine tradition, 
but a pure fabrication. This conclusion regarding the 
main assertion of the narrative is confirmed by a close 
examination of the other assertions which it makes. 
It takes for granted, in contradiction to the entire 
New Testament, that the appearance to James was 
either the first or one of the first made to any person 
(Zahn, Einl. i. 78, holds that it is represented as the 
first to any one). Further, the handing of the grave- 
clothes to the servant of the priest, probably Malchus, 
betrays the purely apocryphal nature of the story. 
Still more incredible is the statement that James was 
present at the Last Supper. This view rests on the 


assumption that James was one of the Twelve, a view 
which cannot be reconciled with the declarations of 
Scripture, and is at variance with the oldest Palestinian 
traditions regarding him, as reported by Hegesippus. 
This difficulty is so insuperable that some scholars 
believe that the original text referred to our Lord s 
death and not to the institution of the Eucharist 
(Lightfoot, Gal 266; Harnack, Chron. 650), and 
argue in favour of the reading : biberat calicem 
Dominus. But this reading and interpretation are 
both precarious. The position of Dominus is 
unusual. And it is questionable whether such 
a Gospel as that to the Hebrews would have 
employed a figurative designation of our Lord s 
death. Further, the references to the table, the plac 
ing and the breaking of bread, undoubtedly suggest 
that the incident referred to is the institution of the 
Lord s Supper and not the death of Christ. It is 
further urged (Lightfoot, I.e.) that even though the 
writer represented James as present at the Last 
Supper, it does not follow that he regarded him as 
one of the Twelve. This conclusion is not impossible, 
but it is unlikely, because no other except the Twelve 
are stated to have been present at the Last Supper. 
It is, of course, conceivable that the writer may have 
regarded him as present, along with the Twelve, on 
account of his high dignity. 

Accordingly, no credence is to be attached to the 
statements of the Gospel according to the Hebrews re 
garding James. Its divergence from other authorities 


is so great as to deprive it of any historical value. 
This would be the case even though it were composed 
as early as between 70 and 100 (Harnack, Chron. 
650). Such a date is not supported by any evidence 
of value ; but, even though it were established, the 
trustworthiness of the statements would need to be 
rejected and the narrative pronounced a fabrication. 
It is inconceivable that an account composed at Pella 
among Christians, shortly after the death of James, 
should have given so erroneous a report of many of 
the most certain facts in the early history of 
Christianity. How could Jewish Christians shortly 
after the death of James have represented him as 
present at the Last Supper ? How could they have 
described him as one of the Twelve ? How could 
they, against the evidence of all the Gospels, have 
described him as a Christian ? And, to crown all, 
how could they have described him as not only a 
Christian, but as confident that Jesus would rise 
again ? 

Even though the opinion be adopted that the 
incident referred to is our Lord s death and not the 
Last Supper, James is still on this hypothesis a 
Christian and a believer in the resurrection. Yet 
the Gospels show no trace of his presence among 
the Christians in Jerusalem. He is never mentioned 
as near the Cross. He is not named with the women 
to whom our Lord appeared, or with the Apostles. 
His Brother s manifestation to him is amongst the 
latest and not among the earliest of His appearances, 


while to the story told by the author it is vital that 
Jesus should have first appeared to him. If an early 
date, then, must be assigned to the Gospel according 
to the Hebrews, the work must be declared a mere 
fiction. For the hypothesis that it embodies an 
independent and possibly trustworthy tradition 
regarding the resurrection and our Lord s appearance 
to James is discredited by its contents. It may be 
pronounced certain that no such tradition could have 
existed among the Jewish Christians of the Holy 
Land, for the traditions existing among them are 
embodied in our present Gospels. Who can believe 
that a Gospel describing the resurrection itself, and 
representing the guard placed at the grave as friendly 
to our Lord, contains what was the accepted belief 
among Jewish Christians between 70 and 100 ? 

An attempt has been made to preserve what are 
alleged to be the main facts of the tradition contained 
in the passage from the Gospel to the Hebrews. 
According to this representation, James, convinced 
by the reports which reached him concerning the 
resurrection, bound himself by an oath not to eat or 
drink until he too had seen the Lord (Farrar, Early 
Christianity). What is this but to rationalise the 
tradition ? It certainly removes from it all that is 
incredible, but in doing so transforms its character 
and deprives it of all interest. The essence of the 
tradition is the faith of James and its reward, but 
this revised version rejects the alleged faith. 

The source of the legendary story is doubtless the 


statement of Paul that our Lord appeared to James 
(1 Co 15 7 ). A Jewish Christian writer expanded this 
statement into a story which extolled James as the 
most splendid instance of faith in our Lord s resur 

Whether the writer was conscious how widely he 
departed from the truth of history cannot be known. 
But it is hardly doubtful that he found his starting- 
point in the narrative of Paul. This opinion has been 
rejected on the ground that the Nazarenes did not 
read the letters of Paul (Zahn, Gescli. d. Kan. ii. 716), 
and the writer is said to have derived his knowledge 
from oral tradition. But is it certain that the 
Nazarenes did not possess the letters of Paul, and 
that they were wholly unacquainted with their 
contents ? To reject the authority of certain books 
is one thing, to make no use of their contents is 
quite another. What is the value of an oral tradition 
which is notoriously inconsistent with history, and 
merely states a fact which has been the common 
possession of the Christian Church ever since its 
origin ? Why seek in oral tradition the source of a 
statement contained in the First Epistle to the 
Corinthians ? 



fTlHE Ascension of our Lord seems to have taken 
* place in the presence of the Eleven only. 
Perhaps it is hardly proper to infer from this fact 
that they stood nearer to Him than His mother, 
brothers, and sisters, or than friends like Lazarus, 
Martha, and Mary. Their official relation to Him 
may sufficiently account for their being the sole wit 
nesses of His departure from the earth. 

Immediately after the Ascension, our Lord s 
mother and brothers are mentioned as assembling for 
Christian worship along with the Eleven and those 
women who had ministered to our Lord. 

They met in the chief room of a private house in 
Jerusalem, doubtless in expectation of the fulfilment 
at an early date of the promise regarding the Holy 
Spirit. By this time all our Lord s brothers had been 
won for the new faith. The suggestion had often 
been made that they were converted through the 
agency of James ; and this opinion is highly probable. 
What more natural than that they should receive 



his testimony ? If he were the oldest, and also the 
ablest and most energetic among them, they would 
not hesitate to accept his evidence. The fact of the 
resurrection was to them the destruction of all their 
doubts regarding their Brother s Messiahship. 

It is impossible to say whether their conversion 
took place in Galilee or Jerusalem. No evidence 
exists to show that the Lord s brothers were, as is 
frequently taken for granted, in Jerusalem at the 
Passover. If they remained in Galilee, their con 
version would take place there ; but that event 
would naturally constrain them to repair to the 
capital. Their mother was there ; the most intimate 
disciples of Jesus were there ; the new community 
was to be baptized with the Holy Spirit there. 
Accordingly they left their home in Nazareth or 
Capernaum and betook themselves to the metropolis, 
perhaps without deciding whether they would settle 
in it or not. 

There can be little doubt that the accession of 
the brethren of Jesus to the new community was a 
source of profound satisfaction to the Eleven and to 
the rest of the believers. Nor was it unimportant. 
Just as the unbelief of our Lord s brothers must have 
influenced some in refusing to admit His claims, 
so their belief must have had a contrary result. 
Is the fact that our Lord s mother and brothers are 
mentioned in the opening chapter of Acts side by 
side with the Eleven and the women who followed 
Him an evidence of the effect produced by their 


conversion, and of the place which they at once 
gained in the primitive Church ? 

The first step taken by the new community 
was to elect a successor to Judas. The suggestion 
to do so came from Peter, to whom the leader 
ship of the community was at once conceded. 
Why was not James proposed for the vacancy ? 
Why did Peter not nominate him, and the Church 
appoint him by acclamation ? His relationship to our 
Lord, the strength and massiveness of his character, 
his personal influence, must have been acknowledged 
by all. The answer that he was too recent a convert 
is wholly inadequate. It is a reply much more in 
harmony with the practice of the twentieth century 
than of the first century ; and, besides, the purity and 
weight of his life abundantly compensated for this 
disadvantage. The answer, then, to this question must 
be sought elsewhere. It is doubtless this : that 
James did not possess the qualification needed for the 
office. That qualification is expressly stated by Peter, 
in his speech, to be association with the Twelve from 
the baptism of John onwards. This condition was 
one which James did not fulfil. He had not been 
in the company of the Twelve during our Lord s 
ministry, and he was therefore ineligible as the 
successor of Judas. Had James possessed the 
necessary title, and had the office of Apostle been 
regarded as one of special dignity, there is no reason 
why even at this early date he should have been 
passed over. That Peter, after James had become a 


member of the Christian community, should lay down 
as a qualification for admission among the Twelve a 
condition which excluded James from the apostleship, 
is a fact the significance of which should not be lost 
sight of. 

Eight or ten years pass during which there is no 
mention of James. Meanwhile the Christian Church 
had increased rapidly in Jerusalem. Its adherents 
were numbered by thousands. Its leaders had been 
arrested and condemned to be scourged by the 
Sanhedrin in order that they should cease to proclaim 
Jesus as the Messiah, but had refused to be intimi 
dated. At length a persecution of extraordinary 
fierceness broke out against the new faith, and in it 
Stephen the first Christian martyr fell. Not long 
after, the most active as well as the most brilliant and 
accomplished of the persecutors became a convert. 
The conversion of Paul may be assigned to 3537, 
and in the third year thereafter he paid his first visit 
to Jerusalem. His purpose was to see Peter. He saw 
James as well, for he states " other of the Apostles 
saw I none, save James the Lord s brother " (Gal I 19 ). 
Does Paul in these words designate James as an 
Apostle ? The subject has formed the theme of 
constant debate, but the great body of unbiassed 
opinion has pronounced in the affirmative. This is 
certainly the most obvious sense of the words, and 
is apparently demanded by the context. It is true 
that the laws of grammar allow of the view that 
James instead of being called an Apostle is rather 


excluded from the number. But this interpretation 
of the words is inconsistent with the purpose of the 
writer. It may then be concluded that Paul describes 
James as an Apostle. But it does not follow from 
this that he conceived that he had been admitted 
into the number of the Twelve, for he evidently did 
not regard him as belonging to that body (1 Co 15). 
Nor is it certain that James was known in Jerusalem 
by the title Apostle at this early date. The language 
of the Epistle to the Galatians is compatible with his 
having received that designation at any time before 
the letter was written. Yet no reason exists for 
setting aside the natural view that James was even 
thus early spoken of in Jerusalem as an Apostle. 
The history of the use of the term Apostle is 
obscure, but the supposition that it was already 
employed in this sense in Jerusalem, say in 39, is 
consistent with all that is known regarding the origin 
and employment of the term. Another view is that 
Paul may have been the first to call James an Apostle. 
The term Apostle was used by Paul to denote 
others besides the Twelve, and he might therefore 
have regarded it as peculiarly appropriate to James. 
But in the use of titles, would Paul deviate from the 
common practice ? Would he be the first to bestow 
new designations on his fellow- Christians ? Is it not 
almost certain that he would follow common usage ? 
Still, even on the assumption that Paul s employment 
of the term differed from that current among the 
Jewish Christians, James must, in the view of 


Paul and of the Pauline Churches, have possessed the 
qualifications of an Apostle, and been known by that 

Whether James was an Apostle or not at the date 
of this visit of Paul, it is evident that he occupied a 
high position in the Church. The mention of his 
name along with that of Peter is sufficient proof of 
this. To what was this position due ? Was it to his 
ability, or his relationship to our Lord, or to both 
these factors combined ? To ignore the fact of 
James relationship to our Lord would be unwise. 
But to regard it as the determining element which 
fixed his position within the Christian community is 
still more unwise. The truest explanation of his 
eminence is doubtless his character and endowments. 

How did James receive Paul at this time ? What 
were the relations between them ? The difficulties 
connected with the accounts in Galatians and Acts of 
Paul s first visit to Jerusalem have not yet been 
completely solved. How it came to pass that his 
conversion was not known in Jerusalem must remain 
undetermined. It is not quite certain from Paul s 
narrative in Galatians whether or not he expected to 
be the first to mention his conversion. But it is 
probable that he regarded the fact as known. On his 
arrival, however, in the metropolis, Paul found himself 
an object of suspicion. The Christians shrank from 
intercourse with him, because they did not believe 
that he was one of them. There is no reason to 
suppose that this doubt was not felt by Peter and 


James quite as much as by the general body of 
Christians. Paul would naturally approach the 
leaders of the community in the first instance, and 
the hesitation of which Luke speaks was most certainly 
entertained by Peter and James. The intervention 
of Barnabas removed this doubt from their minds 
and led them to bestow a frank and cordial welcome 
on Paul. The statement of Paul, that he saw only 
Peter and James at this time, has given rise to much 
discussion and speculation. It has been conjectured 
and even asserted that Paul saw no others because 
they were unwilling to meet with him, and that it 
early became apparent that agreement between him 
and the Christian community in Jerusalem was out 
of the question. But of all this there is nothing in 
the statement that he saw none of the Apostles except 
Peter and James. Doubtless the sole reason why he 
saw none of them was that none of them happened 
to be in Jerusalem at the time. That they had 
quitted Jerusalem as a body is not to be supposed, 
but that all of them may have been absent during 
the fifteen days which Paul spent in the capital is 
readily conceivable. It is absurd to hold that 
John and his fellow-Apostles declined to meet with 
Paul even after Peter and James had conferred with 
him, and it is purely gratuitous to believe that they 
were aware of any difference between his views and 
theirs, or that they would for one moment have 
treated him otherwise than Peter and James did. 
But is it the case that James received him as 


Peter did ? It is generally allowed that Peter at 
once opened his heart and his home to him, and 
treated him from the first as a brother. Nothing was 
left undone to show his cordial admiration and esteem 
for the former persecutor, now become a disciple. But 
James, it is argued, acted differently. His nature, 
his convictions, his modes of life were alien to those 
of Paul. It was impossible for him to extend to Paul 
the same frank and hearty welcome which Peter did. 
The two men had only to meet in order to discover 
how radical was the divergence between them. Their 
character and aims were so dissimilar that they could 
have little satisfactory intercourse with one another. 
But what is the evidence for this opinion ? What 
proof is there that there was no sympathy, no fellow 
ship between Paul and James ? It is alleged that 
the Acts and the Epistle to the Galatians describe 
the relations beween them as of a formal character 
(Farrar, St. Paul, i. 234). But such an account of 
the testimony of Acts, and still more of the Epistle 
to the Galatians, is almost grotesque. Not a word in 
either of these works proves that the personal 
relations between Paul and Peter were different from 
those between Paul and James. Paul merely 
mentions that he went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, 
and remained with him fifteen days ; and that of the 
other Apostles he saw none, except James the Lord s 
brother. If from this statement it can be inferred 
that Peter at once took Paul to his heart, why should 
an opposite inference be drawn in the case of James ? 


The opposite inference is due to a conception of the 
character and principles of James for which there is 
no foundation. It is taken for granted that James 
was a " legalist, a Nazirite, almost an Essene " (Farrar, 
St. Paul, i. 233). But this assumption is baseless, 
and certainly finds no support in the statements of 
the New Testament. It is an error, then, to conclude 
that James treated Paul otherwise than Peter did. 
From both he received the same frank welcome and 
unfailing kindness. 

To seek to construct in imagination the conversation 
between Paul and James is unnecessary. There can 
be no doubt that James would be able to communicate 
much to Paul regarding the life of our Lord, and 
doubtless Paul in turn had much to say to James 
concerning his experience of the power of the risen 
and ascended Messiah. 

The name of James reappears some years later, in 
44. Herod Agrippa was at this time, through the 
favour of Claudius, in possession of as extensive a 
territory as his grandfather, and was pursuing a policy 
of self-interest and enjoyment tempered by love of 
popularity. He was eager to ingratiate himself at 
once with the Komans and his own subjects. Accord 
ingly at Ccesarea he played the Eoman and Greek, 
while in Jerusalem he was the orthodox Jew. He 
seems to have resided much in the capital, and to have 
speedily perceived how disliked and detested was 
the new sect of the Nazarenes. They were more 
obnoxious than ever to the Sadducees and Pharisees, 


and were no longer protected by public veneration 
and confidence. The charges of disloyalty to the 
Mosaic institutions, so frequently brought against 
them, had deeply influenced the common people, 
who, as they narrowly scanned the lives and practices 
of the Christians, discerned that their thoughts and 
ideals were other than their own. This change of 
opinion seems to have begun when Stephen perished, 
and it grew stronger with the passing years. The 
Nazarenes were now the victims of hatred and obloquy 
Herod was quick to discern in this condition of affairs 
an opportunity of adding to his reputation as a 
defender of the faith. Accordingly he issued in 
structions that James the son of Zebedee should be 
arrested. He was tried, condemned, and beheaded ; 
and the mode of execution renders it probable that 
he was sentenced by the king or one of his judges. 
This act was so popular that Herod followed it up 
by a still more decisive step. He caused Peter, the 
acknowledged leader of the Christian community, to 
be put in prison to await his trial, probably on an 
indictment for treason or blasphemy. Only the 
intervention of the Passover prolonged his life. As 
soon as that festival was over, it was the intention 
of the king to have him tried, condemned, and 
executed in presence of the vast concourse then 
assembled. But Peter was saved by the interposition 
of God. Though chained to two soldiers who shared 
his cell, and guarded by other two outside, he was set 
free by an angel, in what was to him a vision until 


its reality forced itself on his senses. Comprehending 
at last what had occurred, he proceeded to the house 
of Mary the mother of John Mark, which was 
probably the centre of Christian fellowship in 
Jerusalem. There he found a number of his fellow- 
believers assembled to intercede for his release, and 
to them he rehearsed the story of his deliverance. 
Before withdrawing into the necessary concealment, 
he gave charge that his escape should be made known 
to James and to the brethren. 

What inference can be drawn from this instruction 
of Peter? Had the position of James become still 
more definite and lofty ? Was he now the acknow 
ledged local head of the community ? Was he 
practically its ruler ? Was his authority within the 
Church of Jerusalem as great as, or even greater than, 
that of the Apostles themselves ? These questions 
admit of no satisfactory answer, for the mere mention 
of the name of James in this connection does not 
permit us to draw such ample conclusions as these. 
It is incontestable that James filled a prominent place 
in the community ; but that he was its sole or chief 
ruler, or that his voice within the Church of Jerusalem 
was as potent as that of the Apostles, is not a valid 
deduction from this expression. Undoubtedly, how 
ever, it may be inferred that James stood in a position 
of special authority in the Church of Jerusalem, and 
that he was regarded as its most eminent member, 
the Apostles excepted. It is, however, by no means 
clear that his position in 44 was more authoritative 


than in 37-40. There is nearly as much evidence to 
show that he was a foremost member of the Church 
in Jerusalem in 3740 as in 44. 

It has been suggested that the vacancy in the 
number of the Twelve caused by the execution of 
James the son of Zebedee was filled by the appoint 
ment of James the Lord s brother. 1 The conjecture 
is ingenious and striking, but is exposed to not a few 
serious objections. Without dwelling on the fact 
that James did not fulfil the terms of admission to 
the apostolate laid down by Peter when Matthias was 
chosen, and without discussing the question whether 
an Apostle could properly fix his residence in 
Jerusalem, it is enough to call attention to the 
following considerations. Paul, as we have seen, 
calls James an Apostle, but just as clearly dis 
tinguishes him from the original Apostles (1 Co 
15 5 ~ 7 ). Would he have done so had James four 
teen years previously been elected as one of the 
Twelve ? Again, why should Luke, who records the 
election of Matthias, not have recorded the still more 
memorable election of James ? Is it certain or even 
probable that any successor to the son of Zebedee was 
chosen ? Would not this imply at least that the 
number of the Apostles should be kept at Twelve as 
long as possible ? But of any such endeavour there 
is no trace in history. The election of Matthias 
appears to have been a step by itself, and it is 
questionable whether any successor was ever chosen 
1 Hort, Jud. Chr. 62 ; Chr. Eccl. 77. 


to any of the Twelve except Judas. The propriety 
of the election of a successor to Judas is almost self- 
evident, but the propriety of any future election 
becomes clear only on the assumption that the 
apostolate was intended to be a permanent office ; 
and this view, it is generally conceded, cannot be 
maintained. It is difficult to perceive why Luke 
should have omitted the appointment or election of 
James to the apostolate had he been aware of it. 
That the circumstances of the case so clearly point 
to his election that the fact did not require to be 
stated cannot be said. On the hypothesis that he 
was chosen as an Apostle, the failure of Luke to 
record the appointment is only the more significant, 
in view of the circumstance that he never terms him 
an Apostle even when describing the lofty position 
which he filled. Again, Hegesippus speaks of James 
as receiving the government of the Church along with 
the Apostles. He could hardly have written thus, 
had any tradition reached him that James became 
one of the Twelve. There is, then, no positive evidence 
either within or without the New Testament to prove 
that James was enrolled among the Twelve. 

Again, on this assumption, there comes up the 
question, when was James chosen as an Apostle ? It 
could not have been immediately after the death of 
James the son of Zebedee, for there was probably 
no time between his execution and the arrest of 
Peter to allow of any such step being taken by the 
Church. At most only a short interval can have 


elapsed between the arrest and execution of James 
and the subsequent arrest of Peter, and the Church 
could not during this interval have proceeded to 
elect James as a successor to the son of Zebedee. 
The election, if it took place at all, must have been 
after the deliverance of Peter. It is quite conceivable 
that James was then formally chosen in the place 
of the son of Zebedee. But the question at once 
occurs, what was the significance or value of such 
an appointment to James ? Peter s command to 
inform James of his escape clearly proves that 
James was then a leading member, if not the leading 
member, of the Church in Jerusalem. If his position 
in the Church of Jerusalem was thus lofty, if his 
influence was equal to that of any of the Apostles, 
what need was there that he should be chosen as an 
Apostle ? It is only on the view that the office or 
dignity of Apostle was the highest in the Church, and 
that the position and influence of a man like James 
can only be satisfactorily explained on the hypothesis 
that he was an Apostle, that the necessity of his 
election becomes in the least manifest. But of the 
prevalence of such ideas in the first age of the Church 
there is no proof. To suppose that the elevation of 
James to the apostolate was the crown and seal of 
his ascendency within the community, is to transfer 
the views and sentiments of later ages to the first 

Connected with the execution of James and the 
deliverance of Peter, is a visit to Jerusalem made by 


Paul and Barnabas bearing a contribution from the 
Church at Antioch for the relief of the wants of the 
Church of Jerusalem, then suffering from the effects 
of a dearth. This visit may have occurred before 
or at the same time as the death of James and the 
arrest of Peter. A careful study of the narrative 
favours the view that the visit took place subsequent 
to these events. On any other explanation, the 
separation of the parts of the narrative descriptive 
of the incident (Ac II 30 12 25 ) can hardly be under 
stood. Not a few questions of great importance in 
connection with the history of the early Church cluster 
round this visit of Paul and Barnabas, and several 
of these bear on the present subject. One of them is 
as to the condition of matters when Paul and Barnabas 
arrived in Jerusalem. Was the Church in terror 
and confusion ? Had the Apostles fled ? Did they 
not see a single Apostle ? Was even James absent ? 

An answer to these questions has been sought 
for in a determination of the date of the famine 
spoken of. But even though the date were 
ascertained, the matter would not be settled, for it 
is contended that the narrative does not exhibit any 
connection between the famine which is known to 
have taken place in Judaea and the visit of Paul and 

There has been much controversy regarding the 
date of the famine. Not a few scholars have inferred 
the date from the narrative of Luke, and have 
accordingly assigned it to 44. But this opinion 


cannot be maintained. It is, at any rate, inconsistent 
with the statements of Josephus respecting the dearth 
in question. Even his assertions are not unambiguous. 
But from them it is clear that the famine cannot 
have been earlier than 45, perhaps not before 46, 
and may even have been as late as 47 (Ramsay, 
Paul the Traveller, adopts the date 47 ; Zahn, 
Einlcituny, the date 4748). If, then, Paul and 
Barnabas did not visit Jerusalem until the predicted 
famine actually took place, two years may possibly 
have elapsed between the deliverance of Peter and 
their visit. But this space of time seems excluded 
by the connection in which Luke relates the visit. 
He plainly believed that the visit was not far removed 
from the time of Peter s escape and of Herod s 
death. His language, indeed, is not absolutely 
opposed to the view that two years had passed, but 
the expression " about that time " certainly suggests 
a much shorter interval. This shorter interval, 
however, if adopted, dissolves the connection be 
tween the famine of which Josephus speaks and 
the visit of Paul and Barnabas. There is nothing, 
however, unreasonable in the conjecture that a scarcity 
may have shown itself in 44 or 45, and that the 
Church at Antioch, hearing of this, may have de 
spatched Paul and Barnabas on their mission of 
philanthropy. Wholly to separate their mission 
from the predicted famine is impossible, but it is 
not necessary to connect the prediction with the 
particular year in which the famine prevailed in 


Palestine. The language of Agabus referred to a 
great famine over all the world, and the visit of Paul 
and Barnabas to Jerusalem may have been connected 
with a bad harvest preceding the actual dearth. On 
this view the visit of Paul and Barnabas may be 
brought into close relation with the death of James 
and the deliverance of Peter. At the same time it 
would be rash to conclude that the visit was paid 
at the very time when James had perished and when 
Peter s life was in peril. There is no evidence that 
they arrived during the Passover. Nor is this 
intrinsically probable. The omission of all mention 
of the Apostles, the silence of Paul in Galatians 
regarding this visit, and the circumstance that the 
gift was sent to the elders by Paul and Barnabas, 
do not warrant any such conclusion. All that can 
be said is that the Apostles may have been absent, 
but it certainly cannot be shown that they were. 
The probability that they were present must 
be equally acknowledged. Hence the description 
often given of the state of matters in Jerusalem 
when Paul and Barnabas arrived with the contribu 
tion from Antioch cannot be accepted. 1 It is not 
certain that they reached the capital after James 
had been executed, and when Peter had just made 
his escape. It is not certain that all the Apostles 
had fled, for there is no evidence to show that they 
did flee even when James was executed and Peter 
imprisoned. It is not certain that Paul and Barnabas 
1 Lightfoot, Gal. 126. 


entered Jerusalem at the hazard of their lives, and 
that consequently they merely handed over the gift 
of the Church at Antioch to the elders and stole 
secretly away. The narrative of their visit does not 
expressly contradict such a view, but just as little 
lends it any countenance. 

Moreover, the greater of the two probabilities is 
that the visit was paid after the death of Herod. If 
there was communication, as was doubtless the case, 
between Antioch and Jerusalem, and if the Church 
at Antioch had been informed of the death of James 
and of the arrest of Peter, would it not infer that 
a persecution was about to break out against the 
Church in Jerusalem which might lead to its members 
being scattered, as had happened a few years previously 
when Stephen fell ? Would Paul and Barnabas not 
at such a time advise the Church to delay sending 
help until peace had again dawned ? Besides, would 
Paul and Barnabas have judged it expedient to 
approach the capital at such a time ? 

The assumption, then, that the Apostles were absent 
from Jerusalem when Paul and Barnabas arrived, 
must not be made. Especially must this not be made 
in the case of James. He is expressly named as 
present in Jerusalem (Acts 12 17 ) when Peter made 
his escape, and it may be taken for granted that he 
would remain in Jerusalem. So far as the evidence 
in our possession is concerned, there is every likelihood 
that James continued to reside in Jerusalem even 
after Peter s withdrawal. 


But it is argued that Paul could not have omitted 
to mention this visit in the Epistle to the Galatians, 
had he seen any of the Apostles on this occasion. 
This is a dangerous argument to employ. It is a 
weapon which may be turned, as has often been done, 
against the occurrence of the visit itself. The pre 
sumption, as we have seen, is strong that James at 
least was in Jerusalem at the time, and Paul regarded 
James as an Apostle. Is it conceivable that Paul 
would have passed over a visit in which he had inter 
course with James, though with none of the rest of 
the Apostles, if the mention of that visit had been 
germane to his purpose ? If he almost goes out of 
his way to mention James the Lord s brother, though 
not one of the Twelve, as an Apostle whom he saw on 
the occasion of his first visit, is it credible that he 
would have failed to mention the second time at which 
he saw him, had his purpose been to specify the 
occasions on which he saw the Apostles, including 
James ? The omission of all notice of the visit of 
Paul must be explained in quite another way. The 
visit is passed over not because all the Apostles were 
present or absent at the moment, but simply because 
his aim is not to enumerate his visits to Jerusalem, 
but to illustrate the nature of his relations with the 
Apostles. His account of his first visit showed his 
independence of them. That of his second visit would 
at most have confirmed the same fact. He therefore 
omits it, and passes on to the third visit, which not 
only proved his complete independence, but the full 


and cordial recognition of that independence by the 
Apostles themselves, when his apostleship and teach 
ing were directly challenged. 

If a view of this visit which has been advocated 
(Kamsay, Paul the Traveller, 55) were correct, the 
stay of Paul and Barnabas must have been consider 
able, and their intercourse with James and the 
Apostles close and intimate. They must, it is asserted, 
have purchased corn and other food, and have person 
ally superintended its distribution. Their visit prob 
ably extended over months. It cannot be said that 
the narrative of Acts suggests that Paul and Barnabas 
proceeded in this way. Nor is it easy to believe that 
they had the means at their command for doing so. 
The ordinary view, that they carried money with them 
and gave this to the elders, though condemned as 
irrational and incredible, is probably correct. Izates 
of Adiabene sent money to the relief of the capital at 
the same time, 1 and what he did the Christian com 
munity at Antioch may equally well have done. The 
usual view attributes, it is said, criminal incapacity to 
the Church at Antioch in sending gold to a starving 
city. But this accusation loses all point and value 
when it is known that the same criminal incapacity 
was shown by a sovereign, and is commended by 
Josephus. Paul and Barnabas, then, need not have 
spent much time in fulfilling the duty entrusted to 
them. Still they may have passed several days or 
weeks in the capital. However short their visit, it is 

1 Jos. Antiq. xx. ii. 5. 


almost certain that Paul and James would meet. The 
circumstances bringing them together would be grati 
fying to both. It would be with unalloyed pleasure 
that James received the welcome gift as a fresh 
proof of union between the Churches of Jerusalem 
and of Antioch. The personal intercourse between 
them would doubtless serve to increase their mutual 
respect and confidence. The fuller their knowledge 
of one another, the greater would be their apprecia 
tion of one another s character and labours. James 
would have much to hear from Paul and Barnabas 
regarding the new Christian community at Antioch. 
The question of the conversion of the Gentiles 
could not have been altogether absent from his 
mind, and the account given by Paul and Barnabas 
of the entrance of the Gentiles within the Church 
may have drawn his attention to the Old Testament 
prophecies relating to their admission. Possibly, 
too, Paul and Barnabas gave him full informa 
tion regarding the Christian worship and practices 
of the new community. He could not but learn that 
the rite of circumcision was not imposed on the 
Gentile converts. They in their turn would hear from 
James of the persecution from which the Christians 
had suffered, and also of the unpopularity with which 
they had come to be regarded. The favour which 
the Christian Church had formerly enjoyed in the 
capital was now at an end. 

It has frequently been assumed that the relations 
between the Churches of Jerusalem and of Antioch 


must have been altered by the bestowal and acceptance 
of help at this time. The poverty and dependence of 
the Church of the capital would lead it to think less 
highly of its original prerogatives, while the Church of 
Antioch in turn would have its independence fostered 
and strengthened by the fact that it ministered to the 
needs of the Church of the capital. It may, however, 
be doubted whether this interpretation of the relations 
between the Churches is admissible. The supposition 
may be made that the Church at Jerusalem regarded 
the gift from Antioch as an act of homage or as but 
the repayment of an obligation. Much the best 
course, however, is to acknowledge our ignorance of 
the effect produced by the bestowal and acceptance of 
the gift except in so far as it contributed to bind the 
Christians of both Churches together, and served as 
a symbol of their unity and love. At any rate, the 
inference must not be drawn that from this date the 
supremacy of Jerusalem as the mother Church of 
Christendom ceased, and that the sceptre of authority 
was transferred to Antioch. For this plainly is not 
the view of the New Testament. Jerusalem so lono- 


as it existed was in the estimation of all Christians 
the Metropolis of Christianity. It ceased to be such 
only when the doom so long predicted overtook it. 



THE sources of the life of James are scanty. By 
far the most valuable of these is the Epistle 
which bears his name. Its genuineness has been 
called in question, but improperly. The evidence in 
its favour, alike internal and external, is more than 
adequate to convince any reasonable man. The 
scepticism which would reject the Epistle is a scepti 
cism which if consistent would reject nearly all the 
writings of antiquity. 

The date of the letter cannot be determined with 
accuracy, but the balance of probability leans towards 
the view that it was written before the Congress of 
Jerusalem. A few eminent scholars assign it to a 
later period, but for some years the opinion which 
ascribes it to a date before the Congress has com 
manded the support of a great and increasing number 
of adherents. If this opinion be correct, it may be 
assigned to the years 47 to 50. A date shortly 
before the Convention is the most suitable, as time is 
thus given for the establishment and growth of the 
Churches referred to in the letter. 

According to Acts, James in or about the year 44 


occupied a conspicuous place in the Church of 
Jerusalem. He is the only person whom Peter 
mentions by name to whom he wished the news of 
his escape to be told (Acts xii.). The Epistle, written 
not long after the withdrawal of Peter from Jerusalem 
and the visit of Paul and Barnabas, confirms the 
testimony of Acts. The writer is content to designate 
himself simply as " James, a servant of God and of the 
Lord Jesus Christ." He does not specify his father s 
name, he does not disclose his rank or dignity if he 
had any, nor does he offer any excuse or assign any 
reason for the step he takes. Now as the name 
James was as common among the Jews as John and 
William among ourselves, the writer must have been 
aware that he could not possibly have been mistaken 
for any other person ; and thus plainly indicates the 
position which he held within the Church. This view 
is strengthened by the consideration that the letter, if 
the date assigned to it be correct, is the earliest of all 
the New Testament Epistles. Only a person whose 
authority was unquestioned would have ventured 
to be the first to direct a letter to Christian com 
munities. The communities addressed may possibly 
have comprised the entire Christian Church beyond 
the Holy Land. The address should most probably be 
understood of Jewish Christians only, but Jewish 
Christians at this time must have formed the vast 
majority of Christians. 

Further, the tone of the writer has the accent of 
authority. He writes, indeed, as a Christian brother, 


but his words are those of one evidently accustomed 
to be heard and obeyed. His title to exhort and 
rebuke is indisputable. No one of his readers is free 
to challenge it. 

The absence of any reference to the Apostles is 
also significant in this connection. Had he not 
regarded himself as on an equality with them, had 
his right to speak not been as great as theirs, he could 
hardly have passed them unnoticed. All these facts 
testify that the eminence of James had obtained the 
widest recognition, and that his name was held in the 
highest respect throughout the Church. 

So much, then, for his position as revealed by the 
letter. What information, now, does it furnish with 
regard to his intellectual endowments and attainments, 
and to his views concerning the relation of Christianity 
and Judaism ? 

It is impossible to read the letter without recog 
nising its intensely practical character. The interests 
of the writer lie in conduct, not in speculation. The 
famous paragraph on Faith and Works is a striking 
illustration in point. Here his aim is not the assertion 
of a doctrine, but insistence on right conduct. Had 
the mind of James been of a less practical bent, had 
he been more of a thinker or logician, the connection 
between the different portions of the letter would 
have been closer, and it would have presented fewer 
difficulties of interpretation to the reader. A careful 
reasoner would not have left it uncertain whether it 
is the rich Christian or the rich man who is to exult 


in his humiliation. He would also have pointed out 
the different senses of such terms as temptation and 
faith. He would not have referred to Abraham s 
sacrifice of Isaac as an instance of justification by 
works, and supported it by a quotation which suggests 
that he was justified by faith. Nor would he have 
left it doubtful whether the rich persons referred to 
in the letter, and more particularly the landowners 
who oppress and rob their labourers, belong to the 
Christian community or not. There is no evidence 
in the letter that the author was bred at a college or 
university. The diction, the forms of expression, the 
modes of treatment are unfavourable to such a view. 
The Epistle is plainly the work of a strong arid energetic 
mind full of moral fervour, but unversed in the intel 
lectual habits and language of the scholars of his age. 
The Greek of the Epistle is distinguished among 
the writings of the New Testament by its comparative 
purity. It approaches more nearly the classical 
standard than any other book, the Epistle to the 
Hebrews excepted. At the same time it is obviously 
the work of one to whom Greek is a foreign tongue, 
and whose ideas are cast in a Semitic mould. The 
writer possesses a sound practical acquaintance with 
the constructions and vocabulary of the language, but 
he does not use its resources with the skill and ease 
of a native. Considered as a specimen of Greek 
prose, the Epistle is more remarkable for the absence 
of solecisms and blemishes than for its positive 
merits. The copiousness, the subtlety, the harmonious 


and balanced clauses, the orderly and symmetrical 
structure of the Greek period, are wanting. There 
are few sentences of any length, and even these are 
monotonous in character and defective in form. The 
particles are sparingly used. The distinctively Greek 
constructions do not appear. Although instances of 
Greek idioms can be pointed out, clauses and sentences 
are found which no native Greek would have written. 
Not only is the Hebraic tone of thought manifest, but 
even distinct Hebraisms occur. 

The vocabulary of the Epistle has often excited 
surprise, and has indeed been pronounced to be beyond 
the capacity of the brother of our Lord. Its variety 
and richness are alleged to betoken a degree of culture 
such as he cannot have possessed. But many of the 
judgments passed upon the vocabulary are hasty, and 
betray an imperfect acquaintance with the history of 
the Greek tongue. That not a few words are used by 
James for the first time, so far as our knowledge 
extends, and that he employs words not found in the 
LXX or the New Testament, cannot be questioned ; 
but that his diction is that of philosophy arid not that 
of common speech cannot be proved. On the contrary, 
the most recent additions to our knowledge show that 
the Greek of the Epistle is the Greek of popular 
speech. How improbable it is that James would 
venture to form words in a tongue not his own ! It 
is quite possible that future discoveries of inscriptions 
and books may teach us that no one of the thirteen 
words, found as yet in James only, was absent from the 


popular language. Nor is there any phrase or expres 
sion in the Epistle that can be shown to be purely 
literary or philosophical, and as such outside the range 
of the vocabulary of James. The supposed hexameter 
(I 17 ), the illustration of the mirror (I 23 ), the 
parallel between knowledge and action (I 22 ) and 
speech and action (3 1 ), the figures of the bit in the 
horses mouths (3 4 ), of the vessels and their rudders 
and of the wheel of birth (3 6 ), betray no acquaintance 
with the Grseco-Koman world of ideas (Von Soden, 
Handcom. i. 60). Will it be said that James 
deliberately composed a hexameter line ? Is the 
contrast between knowing or speaking and doing 
peculiar to Greek or Eoman experience ? Can no 
example of these and similar expressions be quoted 
from the Gospels, the New Testament and Jewish 
literature ? Were not the figures in question as 
familiar to a Jew as to a Greek or Eoman ? 

The character of the Greek of the Epistle has often 
been urged against its genuineness, but, as the letter 
is obviously the work of a Greek-speaking Jew, there 
is no reason why it should not have been composed 
by James, unless it can be shown that the acquaint 
ance with Greek which it exhibits could not have been 
attained by him. But no evidence to this effect can 
be produced. It is easy to assert that an ordinary 
Jew of Galilee could not have possessed the know 
ledge of Greek which appears in his letter. Aramaic 
was the vernacular of James, and he spoke this 
tongue at home and amongst his intimate friends. 


But Greek as a spoken tongue was also familiar to 
him. Galilee was practically bilingual, and he could 
not travel for many miles in any direction from 
Nazareth without hearing Greek spoken, and without 
encountering persons who knew no other language. 
Whether Joseph his father knew Greek is uncertain, 
though the flight into Egypt renders it not improbable ; 
but that it was known to the household is credible 
because of the evident acquaintance of our Lord as 
well as James with it. It is possible that Greek 
was spoken in Nazareth itself; and if it be true 
that Nazareth was not the secluded spot which it 
is commonly regarded as having been, but, on the 
contrary, a centre of active life, this possibility 
becomes almost a certainty. A special reason for the 
acquisition of Greek would be the desire to buy and 
read portions of the LXX which were readily accessible 
and comparatively cheap. In a household like that 
of Joseph and Mary such a consideration may have 
had no little influence. 

It can hardly, then, be doubted that James was able 
to read and speak Greek before his conversion. After 
that date his position as one of the leading members 
of the new community would render the knowledge of 
Greek indispensable. It would seem as if the majority 
of the three thousand converts added to the Church at 
Pentecost spoke the Greek tongue, and intimate social 
intercourse with them was possible only to one con 
versant with Greek. There is no reason to believe 
that James was not able to speak readily with them. 


Peter was evidently able to speak and write Greek ; 
and what Peter was able to do, there is no ground for 
believing that James was unable to do. Further, in 
his later years the intercourse with Jews from foreign 
lands visiting the capital would be carried on chiefly 
in Greek, and it is even possible that Greek as well 
as Aramaic was employed in the service of the Church 
of Jerusalem. The LXX was the Bible of the Church 
from the first, and even where the service was Aramaic 
there would doubtless be reference to the LXX. 

To pass from the language of the letter to its 
contents. What testimony is borne by these to the 
culture of James ? Is it possible to point out direct 
literary obligations on his part ? Can we draw sound 
inferences as to the books which influenced him ? 

No little industry has been expended by a number 
of scholars in collecting from Jewish and Greek 
literature thoughts and phrases similar to those 
occurring in the letter. This labour is not thrown 
away, for it is often instructive to compare the 
different ways in which like thoughts are expressed. 
But some scholars have not been content to bring for 
ward similar ideas and language" in order to illustrate 
the Epistle. They contend that the resemblances 
which they point out prove that James had read the 
books in which these are found. It is true that they 
would repudiate the opinion that all instances of 
resemblance are cases of literary indebtedness, for 
such a proposition is obviously false. Nevertheless 
they seem to be unconsciously influenced by this 


principle ; otherwise it is hard to understand why they 
argue as they do. To read certain essays and papers 
bearing on the relation of the Epistle to other writings, 
is to discover that James in composing it must have 
had his mind saturated with scores of books. The 
Epistle, according to this representation, is a mosaic 
made up of thoughts and phrases from all quarters. 
It is the product of a most retentive and flexible 
memory. Expressions scattered over many pages in 
the same or different writings are brought together by 
James and placed in new combinations. Now the 
slightest examination shows that the Epistle cannot 
have been produced in this way. It is no literary 
patchwork; the thoughts and words belong to the 
author and not to other writers ; he no more repro 
duces the ideas and views of other men than Paul 

There is no reason to suppose that James had read 
widely, nor does the letter suggest that he had. His 
knowledge of the Old Testament is obvious. He not 
only refers to persons and incidents mentioned in it, 
but also quotes it. His citations are taken from the 
Septuagiut, which was probably the version of Scripture 
with which he was most familiar. It is not clear 
from the Epistle whether he was acquainted with the 
Old Testament in Hebrew, though one or two expres 
sions render this view not improbable. 

It has been often held that the Epistle exhibits 
a close acquaintance with Ecclesiasticus and the 
Wisdom of Solomon. That affinities between these 


writings and the Epistle exist is undeniable ; but 
whether these are such as to be proofs of dependence 
is not so plain as is often assumed. It is doubtful 
whether the resemblances to the Wisdom of Solomon 
imply that James was indebted to that work, and 
even his familiarity with the work of the Son of 
Sirach is by no means so striking or certain as is 
often asserted. The attempts that have been made 
to prove that he was acquainted with many of the 
writings of Philo, and also directly or indirectly 
with the writings of Greek philosophers, must be 
pronounced unsuccessful. It is, of course, possible 
that he had read some of Philo s works, but the 
instances produced do not support this conclusion. 
Besides, it is not probable that the speculations of 
Philo would have any interest for a mind like that 
of James. Still less credible is the opinion that 
he was conversant with Greek thought. The 
literature of Greek philosophy lay beyond his 
horizon, and it is doubtful whether, even had it 
been accessible, he would have made the slightest 
use of it. 

The literary influence, if we may so speak, most 
clearly traceable in the Epistle is that of our Lord 
Himself. It is true that His words are never quoted 
as such ; but His characteristic modes of thought 
and language are reproduced in the Epistle 
reproduced, not imitated, for the ideas and words 
are plainly the writer s own. It is impossible to 
read the Epistle carefully without being constantly 


reminded of sayings of our Lord, and especially of 
the Sermon on the Mount. James was doubtless 
familiar with our Lord s words as handed down by 
tradition, but he must also have heard many of 
them himself. What he had heard and what he 
had received by tradition were united in his memory 
and became an essential part of his spiritual treasures. 
If it is true that he breathes the spirit and language 
of the Old Testament, it is still more true that he 
breathes the spirit and language of our Lord. 

It is important in this connection to examine 
his views touching the relationship of Judaism and 
Christianity. What was his attitude towards the 
Law ? Nothing is more characteristic of his letter 
than the absence of any reference to the fundamental 
rite of the Law circumcision. He is equally silent 
respecting the Sabbath, the festivals, the laws of food, 
and the stated fasts. He describes the true service 
of God as consisting in benevolence and moral purity. 
What is the significance of these facts ? Do they 
not prove that the zeal for the Law so commonly 
attributed to him is a delusion ? Why does the 
great champion of the Law leave its central rite 
unmentioned ? Why has he nothing to say regard 
ing those practices which in the eyes of every 
orthodox Jew entered into the very essence of the 
religious life ? James doubtless kept the Law as 
the other Christians in Jerusalem did ; but his 
Epistle is inconsistent with the view that he 
attached any special importance to its rites and 


ceremonies. Had these usages been of any con 
sequence in his eyes, had they stood in any vital 
relation to Christian duty, he could not any more 
than the Son of Sirach have passed them by. 
Nothing is plainer than that the Law in its ritual 
and ceremonial portions had ceased to be of import 
ance to him. He had mastered our Lord s teaching 
on the subject. Our Lord had put circumcision 
aside as morally indifferent ; its purpose had been 
realised, its spiritual equivalent bestowed upon men, 
and its observance was therefore no longer a matter 
of conscience. As it had found no place in the 
teaching of our Lord, so it finds no place in the 
teaching of James. What was true of the most 
distinctive feature of the Law applied still more to 
its other rites and practices. The silence of James 
regarding circumcision, the Sabbath, and the laws 
of meats, demonstrates that he was no more a 
legalist than our Lord Himself. The attitude 
of James towards the ritual and ceremonial Law 
is substantially identical with that of our 

The Law, indeed, he held in the highest honour. 
It was to him the expression of the will of God 
and the standard of human duty. A man s attitude 
towards it should be that of a doer and not of a 
critic (4 11 ). The Law is a unity a whole made 
up of many parts; to transgress it in one respect 
is to transgress it in all. The Ten Commandments 
form part of the Law. The Law is described as 


perfect (I 25 ), as a Law of liberty (I 25 2 12 ), and there 
is also a Law which is called royal. 

What is the Law which James thus depicts ? 
Is it the Law as contained in the Old Testament ? 
That the Old Testament was authoritative with 
James is plain ; but that he was thinking exclusively 
of the Law as given in the Old Testament cannot 
be maintained. The Old Testament was to him 
the revelation of the will of God, but it was not 
the final revelation of that will. That will was 
revealed in Jesus, and the Law as interpreted and 
promulgated by Jesus was the Law binding upon 
men. James speaks of the Law as perfect. This 
language suggests a comparison with a Law which 
is imperfect. The contrast before him was between 
the Law as he had originally known it and the 
Law as conceived and expounded by our Lord. 
The Law given by Moses was imperfect ; the Law 
given by Jesus was perfect. The Law as understood 
by James is the Law as understood by Jesus, for 
its standard is the character of God, moral perfection, 
love to God and man. 

Not only is the Law perfect, it is also the Law 
of liberty. James seems to hold apart the ideas 
of perfection and liberty, the former referring to 
the contents of the Law, the latter to its spirit. 
Not only is the Law perfect, it also creates spiritual 
freedom, establishing an abiding union between the 
command of God and the human will. The command 
enjoined becomes an inward principle. The Law is 


written on the heart and therefore embodied in the 
life. The expression " law of liberty " is used on 
one occasion by James to enhance the sense of 
responsibility. At the first glance the two ideas 
seem incompatible ; yet on reflection it is not 
difficult to perceive how the law of freedom adds 
to our accountability. The Christian has not only 
received a fuller revelation of what God requires 
of him than others, but also fuller power to comply 
with what is demanded. Kesponsibility is in pro 
portion to knowledge and ability; hence the moral 
responsibility of the Christian is greater than that 
of other men. 

Would the phrase the " law of liberty " have been 
applied by James to designate the Law of Moses ? 
This is possible but improbable, in view of his use 
of the epithet perfect. Both expressions are intended 
to set forth two features or aspects of the Law as 
conceived by the writer, and hence the characteristic 
freedom is opposed to the characteristic servitude. 
Experience may have taught James that a merely 
external command engenders a servile spirit. The 
obedience which it requires, if rendered at all, is 
rendered in a hostile temper, and in the great majority 
of instances is not rendered. The man is enslaved 
because he bears an alien yoke. Possibly the contrast 
most in the mind of James was that between the Law 
as expounded by the scribes, consisting in multi 
tudinous external rites, and the spiritual legislation 
of our Lord. He may, however, at the same time 


have had before him the difference between a com 
mandment which merely enjoins and a commandment 
which empowers as well as enjoins. The yoke of the 
Law of Moses was slavery ; the yoke of the Law of 
Jesus, liberty. 

James distinguishes the commandment of love by 
the epithet royal. He has evidently in view not 
the Law as a whole, to which such an epithet is 
hardly appropriate, but only one of its special com 
mands. But why is the law of love so designated ? 
Of the many explanations that have been given, that 
which sees in it the highest and most authoritative 
of all the commandments is the most satisfactory. 
The command to love may well be termed royal 
because it possesses authority over all others, and 
because it constitutes the essential spirit of each. 
The view that the command is called royal because 
it is addressed by a king to his subjects is inadequate, 
because this is true of all commands, and the opinion 
that the command is addressed to those who are in 
the position of kings seems irrelevant. 

The silence of the letter on the subject of circum 
cision, the Sabbath, and other Jewish rites, appears 
the more remarkable when it is remembered that 
there were Gentile Christians in some at least of the 
Churches addressed. Antioch was almost certainly 
one of these Churches, and the origin of Christianity 
there can hardly be put later than 38. At the time, 
then, when the letter was written the Gentile 
Christians at Antioch were received on terms of 


equality by their Jewish fellow-Christians. No 
restriction of any kind was placed upon them. They 
sat side by side with their Jewish fellow-believers at 
the Feast of Love and at the Lord s Supper. This 
freedom of intercourse implies that Jews at Antioch 
had ceased to observe the Law as interpreted in 
Palestine. Their association with men who were 
uncircumcised and who did not observe the laws 
relating to foods was pollution in the eyes of a rigid 
Jew ; for it was this very association which the Law 
was meant to prevent. James must have been 
perfectly familiar with the conduct of the Christian 
community at Antioch. Did he then approve of what 
was done ? His silence can bear no other meaning. 
Had he been opposed to the freedom of intercourse 
between the two branches of the Church, he would 
have felt it necessary to say so. If he had believed 
that Christian Jews were bound to abstain from 
religious and still more from social intercourse with 
Gentiles, even though these Gentiles were Christians, 
he could hardly have failed to state and enforce this 
duty. He could not possibly have tolerated so gross 
a breach of the Law. It must therefore be concluded 
that James like Peter had learned the lesson taught 
by the conversion of Cornelius, and that he did not 
regard the Law as binding on the Christian Jews 
at Antioch. 

The members of the communities addressed are 
described as assembling for worship in the Synagogue. 
The term probably denotes a place of worship. The 


scene depicted by James in the second chapter suggests 
that he has a building in his mind. This building 
could not have been an ordinary Jewish synagogue, 
for it is inconceivable that Christian worship would 
have been tolerated there, and, besides, the phrase 
your synagogue shows that the edifice belonged 
to the Christians. But the building need not have 
been a place entirely devoted to religious worship. 
A room used for service fulfils all the requirements 
of the case. 

The fact here implied, that Christians met by them 
selves for worship, is attested by the narrative of 
Acts, and is indeed self-evident. The existence and 
development of Christianity depended upon its having 
a worship of its own from the first. How otherwise 
could Christians know, encourage, and strengthen one 
another ? The assertion has often been made, that 
the Christians of Jewish birth, whether within or 
beyond the Holy Land, had no worship and no 
organisation distinct from those of their Jewish fellow- 
countrymen ; but this statement is contradicted by 
all our authorities, which point to a separate worship, 
with the organisation it involved, as contemporary 
with Christianity itself. The Christian was always 
more than an ordinary Jew. If he frequented the 
Jewish synagogue, he frequented still more the 
Christian synagogue, and he may soon have confined 
himself to attendance on worship there. By so doing 
he did not seem to cut himself off in the least from 
his nation. He was still a Jew, his worship was 


still Jewish because Christian. What worship could 
be so distinctively and purely Jewish as the worship 
of the Messiah ? The Christian Jew was indeed 
conscious that he differed from his unbelieving fellow- 
countrymen, and that this difference was expressed in 
his worship. But the difference was not hostility. 
Christianity was Judaism as God meant it to be : 
Judaism perfected, realised in the person, teaching, 
and life of the Messiah. It was his expectation that 
other Jews would come to think and act like himself, 
and recognise in Jesus the Messiah and in Christianity 
the completion of Judaism. 

The worship of the Jewish synagogue was open to 
all. Anyone could enter who would, and so was it 
with the Christian synagogue. This circumstance 
adds force to the suggestion that the Jewish Christians 
regarded their own religious service as equivalent to 
that of the synagogue, and wherever they existed 
in any numbers formed a synagogue by themselves. 
A vivid picture is sketched in the letter of the treat 
ment meted out to the rich compared with the poor 
visitor. The brilliant dress of the wealthy man 
attracts every eye, and he is eagerly invited to occupy 
one of the best seats ; while the mean clothing of the 
poor man receives only a passing glance, and he is 
bidden to stand or is given one of the inferior seats. 

The social rank of the vast majority of the 
members addressed admits of no doubt. They 
belonged to the poor. It has even been asserted 
that they consisted of the poor exclusively, and it 


must be granted that some obscurity rests on the 
point whether any rich men were found among them. 
The manner in which James writes leaves it open 
to question whether he regarded any of the rich as 
Christians, but a careful examination of his language 
favours the view that some persons of substance 
belonged to the communities addressed. James 
refers to the rich on three occasions. On the first 
of these, while exhorting the brother of low degree 
to glory in his exaltation, he exhorts the rich to 
glory in his humiliation (I 9 ). Here it is not plain 
whether the rich man is or is not a Christian, but 
most probably he is. A reading which is possibly 
the original ( the brother ), the most natural sense 
of the words, and general likelihood, tell in favour of 
this view. Against it is the consideration that the 
rich Christian and not merely the rich man is 
described as passing away. But a reader has no 
difficulty in supplying the obvious qualification, 
in his capacity as rich man, while on the opposite 
view he can find no motive for the announcement of 
the lot of the rich man, nor for the irony, however 
grave, in which the announcement is made. The 
course of thought and the form of expression, to say 
nothing of the difficulties intrinsic to the contrary 
opinion, decide that the duty of the poor Christian 
and of the rich Christian respectively is here set forth. 
This conclusion is strengthened by the reflection that 
it is improbable that none but the poor should have 
joined any of the Churches of the Dispersion. Why 


should not men of the social rank of Barnabas have 
been found among them ? 

The second place in which the rich appear as 
possible members of the community is that in which 
the conduct of those merchants is censured who take 
their tenure of life for granted, forgetting that life de 
pends at every moment on the will of God (4 13 ). The 
tone in which these are rebuked, the directions given 
them, the inference drawn, all point to Christians, 
and more than compensate for the absence of the title 
brethren and of any direct summons to repentance. 

It is otherwise with the third passage (5 1 ), though 
it too has often been understood of Christians. Its 
position immediately following a section addressed to 
Christians, and the use of the same exclamation in 
both sections, are arguments of no little weight in 
favour of the view that Christians are here spoken of. 
But the opposing considerations are still stronger. 
The temper and language of the passage are those of 
judgment: there is no exhortation to penitence: no 
appeal to Christian motives : no gleam of hope, and 
it is therefore impossible that James and the rich 
whom he denounces could have borne equally the 
Christian name. Besides, is it conceivable that rich 
men guilty of the conduct here described could have 
joined the Christian Church ? What motives could 
have induced them to do so ? Self-interest ? Vanity ? 
Fear of judgment ? Finally, the employment of the term 
brethren (5 7 ) seems to prove that the rich persons 
dealt with were not members of the Christian Church. 


The result of this discussion is that while the 
great majority of the twelve tribes in the Dispersion 
were poor, some of them were in circumstances 
entitling them to be called rich. For wealth, it must 
not be forgotten, is a comparative term; and what 
in the eyes of James might be wealth might not 
appear such to some of his fellow-countrymen. His 
standard of wealth would be that of the poor man 
rather than the rich, and therefore be much lower. 

That the rich as a class stood outside of the 
Church is clear. James speaks of one of them as 
drawn by curiosity to visit a place of Christian 
worship (2 2 ), and in this connection condemns the 
practice of paying respect to the rich and of disre 
garding the poor or treating them with contempt. 
He describes the rich as oppressing the readers, 
dragging them before the courts, and as blaspheming 
the noble name which had been named upon them. 
Such blasphemy was impossible for a Christian, and 
therefore the rich spoken of cannot have been Chris 
tians. They may have been unbelieving Gentiles or 
Jews, for it is conceivable that the conduct described 
might have proceeded from men of either race. The 
Churches of the Dispersion were, as a rule, in the midst 
both of Gentiles and Jews, and the harsh treatment 
spoken of might be due to the action of one or other 
of these classes. But the choice between them is not 
difficult. The tribunals mentioned cannot have been 
Gentile courts, for Christianity did not lie under 
public or official condemnation till Nero charged 


the Christians with setting fire to the capital. Up 
to that date, as far as our knowledge extends, the 
Christians were rather protected than punished by 
Gentile judges. The courts referred to must accord 
ingly be Jewish courts. Besides, how strange a 
designation the term rich would be for Gentile 
judges or prosecutors. That the prosecutors were 
Jews, follows also from the statement that they 
blasphemed the name by which Christians were 
called. A charge of this kind could be made against 
rich Jews only. Nothing was more likely than that 
these should speak scornfully of Jesus, the pretended 
Messiah of the new and accursed sect of the 
Nazarenes, who had paid on the Cross the just penalty 
of his insolence and vanity. But what possible 
interest had the rich Gentiles in the claims of Jesus ? 
What likelihood is there that they had heard of His 
name, or that, having heard of it, they would have 
felt even the most languid curiosity respecting His 
labours ? What could possibly have roused them to 
blaspheme ? Again, it is improbable that Jewish 
Christians would be exposed to persecution chiefly, if 
not exclusively, at the hands of rich Gentiles. What 
motives could the rich have for attacking them ? 
The Christians were poor, they lived among the poor, 
their tenets and practices would give most offence 
to the poor. The rich were ignorant of them, or, if 
they knew, despised them. Why then should the 
rich and not the poor have become their persecutors ? 
On the contrary, such action on the part of their 


wealthy fellow-countrymen can be readily understood. 
Only, in fact, on the supposition that the rich 
oppressors were Jews who did not believe, are the 
circumstances of the Christians as described in the 
letter readily comprehended. The Christians reap 
their fields and depend on them for their daily bread : 
but the rich keep back their wages, and at the same 
time are themselves plunged in luxury. They are 
familiar with the doctrine of the Parousia in the 
last days (5 3 ) and with the title Lord of Sabaoth 
(5 4 ). They are able to drag the poor before the 
courts. This can refer only to trials before the 
Synagogue courts, for in these it was easy for the 
rich Jews to oppress the Christians, as the members 
of these courts were largely men of the same station 
and sentiments as themselves. 

It may be asked whether such exercise of power on 
the part of the rich Jews over their fellow-countrymen 
is conceivable among the Jews of the Dispersion. 
Would such conduct have been tolerated in lands 
where the Sanhedrin possessed no jurisdiction, and 
where the Jews themselves were often the object of 
popular hatred ? Our knowledge of Christianity in 
the Dispersion hardly permits us to answer these 
questions fully and precisely, but as regards the 
possibility of the line of action here mentioned there 
can be no doubt, in view of the commission to 
Damascus which Paul received from the high priest. 
Damascus lay outside Palestine. The high priest had 
no jurisdiction there, yet it was possible for him to 


have Christians brought all the way to Jerusalem in 
order to be tried and punished for the tenets they 
held. This was possible, because the Christians in 
Damascus were still socially one with their Jewish 
fellow-countrymen, and so amenable to the authority 
of the Jewish courts. The power of these over the 
Jews was extensive even in Gentile cities, and it is 
probable that the condition of affairs described by 
James lasted till the proclamation of the Gospel to 
the Gentiles resulted in the formation of mixed 
Churches and in the separation of Jewish Christians 
from the Jews. 

An attempt has been made to identify the poor 
spoken of in the Epistle with a special class of Jewish 
men and women : the peaceful in the land, the meek, 
instances of whose character and opinions may be 
found in the Simeon and Anna of the Gospel of Luke. 
The opposition between wealth and poverty was also 
one of religion. The poor received, the rich rejected 
the gospel. But no connection can be established 
between the peaceful in the land and the Christians. 
There is no proof that this class became Christian to 
a greater extent than any other. Besides, there is no 
reason to believe that either in the Epistle or in the 
New Testament in general is poverty or wealth to be 
understood in other than its usual meaning. The 
poor as such are never the good, nor the rich as such 
the bad. If the poor are more susceptible to the 
message of the gospel, it is only because their con 
dition enables them to appreciate its promises more 


and to obey its precepts better than is the case with 
the rich. 

To explain the hostility of the rich Jews to the 
Christians is not difficult. At the time when James 
wrote, riches were commonly associated in the eyes 
of the Jews with rank and culture. The Sadducees 
filled the highest offices of the priesthood, and were 
distinguished for wealth and luxury, and there were 
Pharisees who were scarcely inferior to them in this 
respect. To James the Sadducees and the Pharisees 
were rich, and, as is plain from Acts, they were one in 
their hostility to the Christian faith. That faith struck 
at the self-indulgent life of the one class and at the self- 
conceit and the false sanctity of the other, and at the 
love of pleasure and power common to both. The 
teaching of Jesus concerning riches was profoundly 
distasteful to both these classes, and seemed to portend 
a social revolution. Twice had He given offence to 
the hierarchy by His expulsion of the traders from 
the Temple and by His denunciation of the unholy 
traffic from which the chief priests derived so much 
of their income. Not less scathing was His con 
demnation of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Both 
classes accordingly joined in procuring His death, and 
to both the success of the new faith was disquieting 
and hateful. The sentiments which governed the 
minds of the leading men in Jerusalem spread readily 
to those of the same class in the Dispersion. Inter 
course between them was frequent, and their interests 
were the same. Hence Christianity soon became as 


unpopular among the Jews in the Dispersion as it 
was in its native land, and the same scenes were 
witnessed there which occurred in Palestine. It has 
been assumed that the description of the luxury, the 
rapacity, and the violence culminating in bloodshed, 
of the rich, was drawn from what passed before the 
eyes of James in Palestine. But it is most unlikely 
that James transferred what he had seen in Jerusalem 
to foreign lands. Such a literary artifice was foreign 
to his nature. He described what he had heard with 
his own ears, if not seen with his own eyes. His 
communications with the Churches of the Dispersion 
were probably numerous, and he would be kept fully 
informed regarding their state and prospects. 

The Christians worshipping in the synagogue were 
presided over by a body of elders (5 14 ). It would 
seem that such elders existed in each of the Churches 
addressed, for the writer is evidently dealing with an 
instance that might occur anywhere. The elders to 
whom he refers are not the elders of one definite 
community, but of any community in which a sick 
person might be found. 

The only duty which the Epistle mentions as dis 
charged by the elders is that of praying for and 
anointing with oil a sick member with a view to his 
recovery. The sufferer is directed to call for the 
elders in order that they may so act. He is to send 
not for one or several elders, but for the entire 
presbyterate. The reason for this step was doubtless 
their representative character, the Church being as it 


were embodied in them. Their intercession was the 
intercession of the congregation over which they pre 
sided. The prescription to anoint with oil may have 
been due to the efficacy which oil was believed to 
possess or may with equal likelihood be traced back 
to the action of the twelve Apostles when sent out as 
evangelists. The Twelve anointed the diseased with 
oil possibly in accordance with instructions given 
by our Lord, though this is not stated (Mk 6 13 ). 
If this were so, the injunction of James to anoint 
in the name of the Lord can be taken in the strictest 
sense as denoting an act done in obedience to the 
command of Jesus. James speaks as if the patient 
on whose behalf such action was taken was certain 
to recover. He regarded the combined prayer and 
anointing as working together and effecting a cure. 
The element of faith was doubtless in the judgment 
of James the more important agency ; but it is 
erroneous to ascribe no virtue whatever to the 
process of anointing. James, at any rate, held that 
process to be an integral factor in the restoration 
of the sufferer. It should be observed that the 
language of James does not imply that the power 
of healing was confined to the elders, belonging to 
them in virtue of their office. He would have 
allowed that the same results could have been 
wrought with the same means by ordinary members 
of the community. The elders are especially 
mentioned because they were the men of strongest 
faith and ripest experience in the congregation. 


If God were to heal at all, it would be through 
their agency. 

It does not follow, however, though the only 
function ascribed to the elders in the letter is to 
pray and anoint the sick, that this was their sole 
duty. Nothing implies that they existed merely 
for the purpose named. It is altogether unlikely 
that a special body of men would have been called 
into existence to discharge such a duty only. Much 
more tenable is the view that the elders were the 
moral directors of the community. 

The incidental manner in which the elders are 
spoken of shows that the institution was well known. 
It must have existed for some time among the 
Churches of the Dispersion. Whence, then, was it 
derived? There can scarcely be any doubt that 
it was taken from the similar institution in Palestine 
with which every Jew was familiar. In most 
communities there, the management of civil and 
religious affairs was in the hands of a body of 
elders. The Jews residing outside of the Holy 
Land carried the institution with them, modifying it 
as far as necessary to suit their new circumstances. 

The Christian Jews within and without Palestine 
proceeded, it would seem, in exactly the same way, 
entrusting the management of their interests to a 
small body of their own number known as elders. 
The duties of Christian elders in the Dispersion 
must have differed not a little from the duties of 
the elders of the synagogue ; but this arose simply 


from the difference between the Synagogue and the 

It has often been asserted of late that the elders 
were not a definite body of men wielding jurisdiction, 
but simply the most eminent members of the 
community. The elders in the Epistle of James, 
it is urged, possessed no title to rule or to teach. 
But this inference is hasty. It cannot be shown 
that the elders were simply the Christians most 
distinguished for their faith and zeal. Every 
Christian possessing high spiritual qualifications was 
not as such an elder. Women were not elders, 
however great their spiritual gifts ; and there were 
doubtless many Christians eminent for the purity 
of their lives and their capacity for service who 
were not elders. Nor can it be shown that the 
elders were not the rulers of the community. May 
they not have administered the Jewish law as 
understood among themselves ? They dealt with 
all violations of that law, and doubtless also settled 
any disputes that might arise between the different 
members of the community. The elders then 
spoken of by James were like the elders elsewhere, 
the authorities of the community. 

The origin of the eldership probably dates back 
almost to the origin of the Church itself. There 
were elders, as we have seen, in the Church of 
Jerusalem in 44, and it is highly probable that 
they existed in the Church from the first, or that 
they were appointed at a very early period in its 


history, and not later than the time when Stephen 
perished. The existence of the institution in the 
Churches of the Dispersion between 46 and 50 
confirms this view. The Christian Churches there 
doubtless framed their organisation on the model 
of the Churches of Jerusalem and of the Holy 
Land; and Paul and Barnabas, when on their 
first missionary journey they ordained elders in 
every Christian community (Acts 14), were doubtless 
setting up an institution with which they had been 
familiar for years in Jerusalem and in Antioch. 

It is not known how the elders were chosen to 
office, and whether their appointment was for life 
or for a term of years. The highest authorities 
on Jewish history are divided in opinion as to 
the manner in which the elders of the Synagogue 
were elected. It is held by some that they were 
chosen by a popular vote ; by others, that they 
were chosen by those already in office. There is 
nothing to show how the elders spoken of by James 
were appointed ; but analogy favours the view that 
they were the choice of the community. All 
through the early history of the Church the 
principle of popular election appears. This principle 
was perhaps acted on even by Timothy and by 
Titus in making the appointments entrusted to 
them. The testimony of the First Epistle of 
Clement and of the Teaching of the Apostles shows 
clearly that the community was in the habit of 
electing its office-bearers. 


The language used in the Epistle regarding the 
elders shows the separateness of the Christian from 
the Jewish assembly. The elders are designated 
elders of the Church, doubtless in contra-distinction 
to Jewish elders. This proves that the congregation 
referred to had assumed an independent form. 
Christian elders were not required, and could have 
had no place in the synagogue. Their only possible 
sphere was within the Christian Church. It will 
be noticed that James speaks of the elders of the 
Church and not of the synagogue, and the use of 
the one term rather than the other can hardly be 
regarded as accidental. Whence then his selection 
of Church ? Having used the word synagogue 
to denote the place of meeting, he would desire to 
avail himself of another term to designate Christians 
as a body, and none so suitable offered itself as 
Church. The word would have a special fitness 
in his eyes if he knew, as he probably did, that 
it was applied by our Lord Himself to denote 
the institution or corporation He had come to set 

In the communities to which James wrote, it 
was open to anyone to come forward as a teacher. 
This shows that the teachers were not a fixed 
number of men chosen for this particular duty. 
They may have constituted a distinct class, but 
the extent of the class was limited only by the 
decision of the individual. James deprecates the 
assumption of this office, because the responsibility 


of the teacher is greater than that of the ordinary 
member. Hence it would appear as if teaching 
was not regarded by him as a spiritual gift, but 
as a function which a man might exercise at his 
pleasure, and the fulfilment of which needed to be 
discouraged. The Jewish Christian churches allowed 
an even greater freedom of teaching than was per 
mitted in the synagogue, and on this account many 
had put themselves forward as teachers rashly and 

The Epistle, though addressed to the Twelve Tribes 
of the Dispersion, must have been intended for a 
definite circle of readers, as is shown by the local and 
specific character of many of its references. The 
uniformity in the condition of the readers indicates 
that they lived under similar circumstances, and 
possibly in the same or adjoining districts. It is 
presupposed that the elders are members of certain 
Christian congregations, and the letter accordingly 
must have been despatched by a messenger or 
messengers to different churches outside the Holy 
Land. But where, it may be asked, could such 
Churches be found before the close of the fifth decade 
of the first century, and only twenty years after the 
Crucifixion ? Every land and every sea was, in the 
language of the Sibyl, full of Jews. The great cities 
of the world teemed with them ; their genius for 
trade, notwithstanding their strong national instincts, 
scattering them over the face of the globe. Wher 
ever Jews were to be found, there also Christian Jews 


might be found. The crowd that heard the memor 
able address of Peter at Pentecost was made up of 
Jews from all parts of the world, and some of them 
may have believed in Jesus as the Messiah, and 
sought to spread their convictions on their return 
home. But it is hardly credible that communities of 
Jewish Christians had been formed in lands far distant 
from Palestine at so early a date. Organised 
Churches such as those addressed by James, which 
had evidently existed for some years, must naturally 
be placed in the neighbourhood of the Holy Land. 
It can neither be affirmed nor denied, with adequate 
certainty, that there were Christian Churches in 
Alexandria or Koine at the time, but there can be 
little doubt that the Churches James had specially in 
his view were those of Syria and Phoenicia. The 
existence of Churches in these provinces at the date 
named is certain. Syria contained a larger number 
of Jews than any other province. They were 
numerous in Antioch its capital, and there and in 
Damascus, as we learn from the Acts of the Apostles, 
Christian congregations arose soon after the death 
of Stephen. From the same source we hear of 
the existence of Christian Churches in Phoenicia 
(Ac 15 3 ). The Jewish communities in these lands 
doubtless enjoyed equal privileges with their fellow- 
countrymen elsewhere, and would be at liberty to 
send contributions to the Temple and to exercise 
jurisdiction over their members. Jewish law made 
no distinction between civil and criminal offences, and 


nothing was so abhorrent to a Jew as to be subject to 
any authority save that of his own sacred Law, and 
to the courts in which it was administered. The 
oppression of the Christian poor by the rich, the 
withholding of their wages, the dragging them before 
courts, correspond exactly with what we know regard 
ing the internal relations to one another of the Jews 
of the Dispersion. That Jewish Christians living 
outside of Palestine were amenable to the authority 
of Jewish tribunals is proved superabundantly by 
Paul s five scourgings (2 Co 3 24 ). The thirty - 
nine lashes which he received each of these times 
were inflicted solely because of his profession of 

Nothing is said in the Epistle concerning the 
relations of the different Churches addressed to one 
another and to the Church of Jerusalem. That they 
were connected in some way is certain, for they all 
recognised one another as Christians and acknowledged 
the authority of James. It has been conjectured 
that they were colonies, so to speak, of the Church 
of Jerusalem, and that, as such, they regarded them 
selves as subject to its authority. It has even been 
supposed that their elders had been ordained to office 
by the Apostles themselves or by delegates from them. 
Such may have been the history of the Churches. 
On the other hand, they may have possessed no formal 
unity, and been bound together by no tie except their 
common faith. It is, to say the least, probable that 
some of the Churches arose, as it were, incidentally, 


and that they sought no guidance* from Jerusalem 
in selecting their elders or in arranging their mode 
of worship. To find in the letter Churches duly 
organised and pledged to render obedience to James 
and the Apostles, is to see a fiction of the imagination, 
not sober fact. 



fTlWO or three years after the Epistle was written, 
4i there was held what is commonly known as 
the Council of Jerusalem. That conference or con 
vention was perhaps the most critical event in the 
history of the primitive Church. The question then 
in debate affected the very existence of Christianity. 
Was Christianity distinct from Judaism, independent, 
unique ? Or was it but an extension or development 
of Judaism ? Must a man, in order to become a 
Christian, become a Jew? Must he fulfil the law 
of Moses in order to be saved ; or, on the other hand, 
did his salvation depend on his obedience to the 
will of Jesus ? These were the issues put before the 
Congress, and it is evident that they involved the 
question of the very nature of Christianity. The 
Congress decided that Christianity is distinct from 
Judaism, and that consequently circumcision, the 
essential rite of Judaism, was not required in the 
case of Gentile Christians. 

The controversy as to the necessity of circumcision 
was due to the action of certain members of the 
Church of Jerusalem, who crept secretly into the 



Church of Antioch, and there asserted that no 
uncircumcised Christian could be saved. Whether 
they had the audacity to claim the sanction of the 
Apostles for their tenet cannot be known, but 
doubtless they were not slow to affirm that the 
opinion they held was widely entertained in Jerusalem. 
The view these enunciated was at variance alike with 
the convictions and the practice of the Church at 
Antioch. Ever since its foundation, some time before 
A.D. 40, that Church had admitted Gentiles without 
imposing upon them either circumcision or, as it 
would appear, any Jewish observance whatever. 
The fellowship of Jew and Gentile in Christian 
worship was unrestricted. No trace exists that the 
Jewish section of the Church had the slightest scruple 
in associating on equal terms with the Gentile. The 
language of the Acts, of the Epistle to the Galatians, 
and of the Epistle of James, if its testimony may be 
taken into account, all suggest that the intercourse 
between Jewish and Gentile Christians in Antioch 
was unfettered by a single condition. This fact is of 
great significance, not only as an indication of the 
views of Barnabas and Paul and of the Church at 
Antioch, but also of the views of the Apostles. The 
Church at Antioch consisted almost from the first 
of Gentiles as well as of Jews. Doubtless the 
unknown missionaries by whom the Gospel was first 
preached in Antioch addressed themselves in the first 
instance to the Jews of the Synagogue there ; but 
very speedily it would appear they turned to the 


Gentiles as well, with the result that the Christian 
community of Antioch was from the beginning 
composed of Jews and Gentiles. How long it was 
until the Gentile element gained the ascendency 
cannot be settled, but the Jewish members of the 
Church must always have been a considerable number. 
The rapid growth of the Church was largely due 
to the agency of Barnabas, who had been deputed 
by the Church of Jerusalem to visit the new 
community and to form his judgment on what he 
saw. He was speedily convinced that the inclusion 
of Gentiles within the Church was a work of God, 
and he threw himself with all the energy of his 
intellect and heart into the task of building up and 
consolidating the new Church. He had the discern 
ment also to recognise that Antioch was a sphere in 
which the special endowments of Paul would find 
full scope. Accordingly he brought Paul from Tarsus, 
and they laboured side by side with remarkable 
success. At their instance or, at any rate, with their 
approval, no questions were raised as to the mutual 
relations of Gentiles and Jews. But this line of 
action must have been known and approved of by 
the Apostles. Barnabas was their delegate and 
representative, and would undoubtedly inform them 
concerning what was done. They must therefore 
have been aware that Jews and Gentiles sat side by 
side at the Lord s Supper. It is impossible to 
conceive them ignorant of this and similar facts, for 
the intercourse between Jerusalem and Antioch was 


frequent, and the presence of Agabus and other 
prophets shows that the relations between the two 
Churches were close and friendly. If, then, the 
Apostles were aware of the practice of the Church of 
Antioch, they cannot but have approved of it. Had 
they esteemed it to be any infringement of Christian 
principle, they must at once have condemned it. It 
follows, then, that the Apostles cannot have regarded 
the observance of the Mosaic Law as a condition of 
salvation, nor even as a term of communion between 
Jews and Gentiles. Their convictions were doubtless 
those of the Church of Jerusalem too ; but this does 
not preclude the view that some members of that 
church believed circumcision to be indispensable for 
salvation, and sought to enforce this tenet on the 
minds of their fellow-Christians. Whether those 
who entertained this opinion were members of the 
church from the first, or whether they had lately 
joined it, cannot be learned. They formed probably 
a small but active body, and the reports which 
reached them concerning the foundation of the new 
Gentile churches on the first missionary journey of 
Paul and Barnabas raised their fanaticism to a white 
heat. The sceptre would finally depart from Israel 
if its characteristic rite were to remain unperformed. 
Animated by the spirit of proselytism, and possibly 
too by hostility to the teaching of Paul and Barnabas, 
they betook themselves to Antioch, and there insisted 
with intense vehemence that no uncircumcised 
Gentile could be saved. The avowal of such a con- 


viction engendered great excitement among the 
Christians at Antioch. The new tenet was disturbing 
alike to Gentile and Jewish Christians, serving to 
create a gulf between them, and to destroy the 
fellowship that had hitherto existed. However 
specious, it was plainly subversive of the cardinal 
truths of Christianity, as well as at variance with the 
providence of God, under the guidance of which 
Gentiles had been admitted unconditionally within 
the Church. The new doctrine was at once challenged 
by Paul and Barnabas, who doubtless showed its 
inconsistency with the essential nature of Christianity, 
the case of Cornelius, and the past history of the 
Church at Antioch. But arguments of this kind, 
however convincing, were ineffectual with the bigots 
of Jerusalem, who simply reiterated their assertion 
that circumcision was necessary to salvation. The 
slightest knowledge of human nature teaches that the 
effect produced on weak and narrow minds by such 
an asseveration must have been great. Not a few 
Gentile Christians may have asked themselves whether 
the new tenet was not true, and were doubtless filled 
with perplexity and pain. Under the circumstances 
it was decided, apparently with the concurrence of all 
parties, to bring the question before the Church at 
Jerusalem. Whether this suggestion came from Paul 
himself or not, he could not fail to recognise in it an 
indication of God s will. His own statement is that 
he went up to Jerusalem at this time because of a 
revelation made to him (Gal 2 2 ). This fact shows that 


he did not go there reluctantly or under compulsion. 
With his usual sagacity he perceived that the subject 
in dispute affected the very essence of Christianity ; 
that his future career depended on its settlement, and 
that it could be determined nowhere except in 
Jerusalem. Nor could he entertain any doubt as 
to the views of Peter and James at least on the 
matter. His intercourse with these leaders had 
convinced him that their conception of Christianity 
was fundamentally the same as his own. To him 
and to them alike faith in Christ was the sole 
requirement for admission into the Church, and it 
was impossible for him to believe that they would 
impose circumcision on the Gentiles as a condition 
of their being received. He went up to Jerusalem, 
not to discover the source from which the zealots 
for the Law drew their support, and just as little 
to argue his case before the Apostles as if they con 
stituted the supreme court of the Church ; but to 
determine an issue which he felt assured could be 
settled in one way only, and that the way already 
followed within the Church of Antioch. The state 
ment of the Acts (15 2 ), that the Church at Antioch 
deputed Paul and Barnabas along with some others 
to repair to Jerusalem and state the matter in dispute 
to the Church there, is quite consistent with the state 
ment of Paul that he went up by revelation. From 
the narrative of Paul in Galatians and of Luke in 
Acts it is plain that a series of private conferences 
was held as well as one or two conventions of the 


whole Church. To determine the number and order 
of these is not necessary here. But it is essential 
to learn what took place in the private interviews 
of Paul and Barnabas on the one hand with James, 
Peter and John on the other, and also what was the 
final decision of the Church itself. 

Very notable is the language in which Paul 
refers to James. He is placed at least on a level 
with Peter and John. Like them he is a leader 
(Gal 2 6 ) and a pillar of the Church (Gal 2 9 ). 
His name is even mentioned before theirs. To 
infer from this circumstance that he occupied a 
higher position in the Church of Jerusalem than 
they did, would be hasty, for the enumeration of the 
names may be purely accidental. But that his name 
could be properly mentioned in such a position shows 
that his influence and power were at least equal to 
theirs. It is quite plain that in the judgment of 
Paul his authority was as great as that belonging to 
Peter or to John. Paul attached as much weight 
to the recognition of his teaching and apostleship 
by James as he did to its recognition by Peter and 
John. If, as is probable, the estimation in which 
James, Peter, and John were held was due to their 
personal ascendency, it is plain that no common 
gifts had won for James a place in the affection and 
councils of the Church not inferior to those filled by 
the foremost and most beloved of the apostolic band. 

But Paul is not only a witness to the high position 
of James, he also states that his views were identical 


in principle with his own. He put before James, 
Peter, and John the gospel which he was in the 
habit of preaching among the Gentiles, with the 
result that they expressed their entire concurrence 
with him. They did not dissent in the least from 
the doctrines he taught or from the precepts he 
enjoined. They did not disapprove of his course in 
not imposing circumcision on others than Jews, for 
they recognised that the apostleship of the un- 
circumcision had as clearly been committed to 
him by God as the apostleship of the circumcision 
to themselves. No clearer or more explicit affirma 
tion of the identity not merely of spirit but of 
doctrine and practice between these three Apostles 
and himself can be given than his assertion that no 
new instruction was given him, no additional require 
ment made of him by any of the Three (Gal 2 lff -). 

As it was apparent to James and to his colleagues 
that Paul had been especially chosen by God to be 
the Apostle of others than Jews, it was arranged 
between them that Paul and Barnabas should 
prosecute their mission among the non - Jewish 
peoples, while they themselves should continue as 
before to labour for the conversion of the Jews. 
They doubtless recognised that their function of 
proclaiming the gospel throughout the world could, 
for the time at least, be best discharged in this way. 
Paul and Barnabas were better qualified to evangelise 
the Gentiles : while they in their turn were better 
qualified to evangelise the Jews. By their joint 


labours the duty of preaching the gospel to the 
world would be accomplished. 

It would seem that no misconception as to the 
nature of this arrangement could arise. Yet upon 
few questions has there been greater diversity of 
opinion than respecting the significance of the phrases 
" the gospel of the circumcision " and the " gospel 
of the uncircumcision." It has been supposed that 
these expressions denote respectively two distinct 
gospels, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles, 
the former gospel insisting on circumcision as obliga 
tory on Jews, and the latter asserting that it was not 
binding on Gentiles. But this interpretation is surely 
unwarranted. Could the Apostles have agreed to 
preach the necessity of circumcision to the Jews ? 
It is impossible that they could have done so in the 
sense that the fulfilment of this obligation was a 
condition of salvation. For such an opinion was 
as foreign to the convictions of James as of Paul 
himself. The only necessity which either James or 
Paul could allow was that of expediency. But is it 
conceivable that this expediency was elevated into a 
dogma or principle ? Is it credible that Paul or 
even James would have thought it wise, in preach 
ing the gospel to the Jews, to raise this question 
of circumcision ; and could either of them have been 
a party to an agreement whereby that rite was spoken 
of as necessary even in the lower sense of expediency ? 
Such an interpretation of the phrase the " gospel of the 
circumcision " is unnatural. The term simply denotes 


the sphere in which the gospel was to be preached 
and not its substance. The gospel of the circumcision 
was the same as the gospel of the uncircumcision. 
There was no difference between them as regards their 
contents. The difference lay merely in the fields in 
which they were proclaimed. 

But can the distinction in question be spoken of 
as one of sphere ? Is not the principle underlying 
it religious rather than geographical ? The mission 
of James, Peter, and John was to the Jews ; that of 
Barnabas and Paul, to the Nations. Surely the 
contrast here is that of peoples rather than of 
localities. No doubt the language of the compact, 
literally understood, bears this sense. But it needs 
to be interpreted in the light of the minds of 
those who used it and of the practice which they 
followed. Even if we had possessed no information 
as to how Paul interpreted the agreement, it would 
probably have been rightly understood as referring to 
localities rather than to persons. But this con 
struction is placed beyond the possibility of doubt by 
the action of Paul, and inferentially by the action 
of the Apostles so far as the period covered by 
the Book of Acts is concerned. There is no trace 
in that book of any endeavours of the Twelve to 
preach to the Jews among the Gentiles ; while, on the 
other hand, Paul s invariable rule was to approach 
the Jews with the offer of the gospel in the first in 
stance. It is plain, then, that the usual interpretation 
of the agreement as virtually geographical is correct. 


The circumstance that Paul preached to the Jews 
as well as to the Gentiles shows the only possible 
sense of the expression "gospel of the circumcision." 
Paul preached the gospel of the circumcision as 
freely as the gospel of the un circumcision. But 
it is impossible to believe that in preaching the 
gospel he recommended the practice of circumcision 
as necessary for the Jews under existing circumstances, 
though not as a term of salvation. A question of 
this kind lay beyond the horizon of his thoughts 
or purposes. Again, there is no evidence that he 
ever sought to dissuade a single Jew from following 
his hereditary customs, or that he ever spoke a single 
word against circumcision as an ordinance for Jews. 

It was evident, however, to the Apostles that it 
was not enough for them to be united in their views 
as to the essence of Christianity, or as to the spheres 
of labour which they should separately occupy. The 
practical question of what was to be done in Churches 
composed partly of Jews and partly of Gentiles must 
be dealt with. Were the Jews to abandon their 
hereditary customs and to mix freely with the 
Gentiles ? What was this but to ask them to 
renounce the Law ? And yet how could there be a 
united Christian Church unless they did so ? The 
question how to facilitate intercourse between the two 
branches of the Church in a community like Antioch 
was doubtless earnestly and repeatedly considered by 
James, Paul, and the rest in private ; and the fruit of 
their deliberations was the proposal afterwards sub- 


mitted by James to the public conference. For to 
suppose that they entered the conference ignorant of 
one another s minds or without a distinct understand 
ing as to what was to be done is hardly permissible. 
They were far too wise to act in any such way. They 
must have felt that complete agreement on their part 
was necessary if they were to carry the Church along 
with them. It is therefore reasonable to hold that 
they arranged beforehand the order in which they 
should speak, and even possibly the particular points 
to which they should address themselves at the public 
convention. In this case the proposals made by James 
were not his own proposals merely, but proposals 
approved of by Paul and Barnabas as well. It is 
possible that they emanated from him in the first 
instance ; but whether they did so or not they were 
in no sense his exclusively. 

The Congress met, consisting of the entire Christian 
Church of Jerusalem, with which the final decision of 
the question undoubtedly rested. Very speedily dif 
ferences of opinion showed themselves, and the dis 
cussion grew keen and protracted. The champions of 
circumcision, if comparatively few, were strenuous and 
vehement in asserting their principles. At length Peter 
rose (Ac 1 5 7 ). He called attention mainly to two points. 
First of all, the question under discussion had in his 
view been already settled. The conversion of Cornelius, 
preceded as it was by an express revelation from God 
and sealed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, proved 
incontestably that it was the will of God that Gentiles 


should be received within the Church without being 
circumcised. But not only had the will of God been 
plainly announced in the case of Cornelius. Every 
Christian knew that salvation was dependent upon 
faith. Purity of heart was salvation, and this purifica 
tion had been freely given by God to Cornelius and his 
friends. He had not required that the Gentiles should 
be circumcised. Hence it was not their duty to impose 
the yoke of the Law upon Gentile Christians. They 
themselves no longer sought salvation from the observ 
ance of the Law, but through the grace of God. How 
then could they dare to enforce it upon the Gentiles ? 

The speech of Peter was followed by speeches from 
Barnabas and Paul (Ac 15 12 ). With great prudence 
they confined themselves to an account of their 
first missionary journey. They simply reported what 
Churches they had founded, and what converts they 
had made. They seem to have deliberately abstained 
from discussing the question before the Conference, 
doubtless recognising, on the one hand, that this was 
a question for the Conference rather than for them ; 
and, on the other hand, that the strongest argument 
in favour of the view which they were known to 
hold was a simple description of the work they had 
been enabled to do. 

After they had ceased, James stood up. It had 
doubtless been arranged that he should not speak till 
this stage. But no inference can be drawn from the 
time at which he spoke, or from the proposals he 
made, either as to his presidency of the Congress or as 


to his official rank. Disputation as to whether Peter 
or he filled the chair, or as to whether Peter s or his 
voice was the more authoritative, is ridiculous, because 
utterly foreign to the occasion. It is true that Peter 
enunciated the truth which governed the decision of 
the Assembly, and that James proposed the actual 
terms of the resolution finally adopted ; but these 
facts have no bearing on the question of their pre 
cedence or dignity. It has frequently been asserted 
that the tone of authority and finality with which 
James spoke proves that he occupied the chair. But 
the words I judge are no more than a simple ex 
pression of opinion, and are certainly not the decision 
of a supreme ruler. 

The brief abstract of the speech delivered by James 
(Ac 15 13 " 21 ) is noteworthy for its strong Hebraic tone 
and also for its use of the LXX. The reference to 
Peter as Symeon, and the language in which the action 
of God is described, breathe a Hebraic spirit. But 
this was exactly what was to be expected at such a 
time and with such an audience. The speaker was a 
Jew ; his hearers were chiefly Jews ; he was speaking 
in Jerusalem ; and the language he employed was 
almost certainly Aramaic. Only the more remarkable 
is the circumstance that he is made to quote a pro 
phecy of Amos in the language of the LXX, and that 
in a form deviating widely from the original Hebrew. 

The speech dwells on two topics. It proves first 
of all that the admission of the Gentiles to the Church 
is in accordance with the teaching of prophecy, and it 


then lays down the terms or conditions on which the 
question before the Congress should be settled. 

James began by expressing his hearty agreement 
with the speech of Peter. He took precisely the 
same view of the incident of Cornelius which Peter 
had done. The admission of Cornelius within the 
Church was an act of God and in strictest harmony 
with the views of the prophets, who had foretold the 
inclusion of the Gentiles within the Church. An 
instance of such a prophecy James found in the 
language of Amos 9 11 (Ac 

"After these things I will return, 

And I will build again the tabernacle of David, which has fallen ; 
And I will build again the ruins thereof, 
And I will set it up : 

That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, 
And all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called, saith the 
Lord who maketh these things known from the beginning of the 

The original import of the prophecy is clear. The 
dynasty of David is to be restored to its former 
splendour, and the nations which had revolted brought 
again under its authority, because through their con 
quest by David they had passed into the ownership of 
Jehovah. In the prophecy, as quoted by James, the 
words, " That the residue of men may seek after the 
Lord," are substituted for the phrase in the Hebrew, 
" That they may inherit the remnant of Edom." It 
scarcely admits of doubt that the original text is 
represented by the existing Hebrew text, and the 
difference between the Hebrew and the LXX may not 


have been unmarked by James. He probably preferred 
the latter version as illustrating and confirming the 
truth on which he is dwelling. He may even have 
translated from the LXX into the vernacular rather 
than from the Hebrew, for this is the simplest and 
most adequate explanation of the presence of the 
citation in its existing form. The application of the 
prophecy thus quoted is obvious. The re-establish 
ment of the kingdom and dynasty of David takes place 
in the person of his descendant Jesus the Messiah. 
And the subjugation of the nations which had thrown 
off the yoke of Israel is fulfilled by the admission of 
the Gentiles within the Christian pale. The last 
words of the quotation are not found in the present 
text of Amos, and may represent either a different 
text or an addition made by James himself. The 
point of the reference is either to the foreknowledge 
and foreorclination by God of the conversion of the 
Gentiles, or to the announcement of that conversion 
made by prophecy from the most ancient times. 

It has been said that this appeal of James to 
prophecy proves that the oracles of the prophets had 
more weight with him than the principles of the 
gospel. But this conclusion is unwarranted. Peter 
had already expounded the question of principle. 
Was it necessary for James to deal with it also ? 
Besides, does the mere reference to the fulfilment of 
prophecy imply that the voice of prophecy is 
necessarily more authoritative than the principles of 
the gospel? This does not follow. Moreover, the 


argument of James was most appropriate and con 
vincing. No consideration was fitted to tell more 
powerfully upon his audience than the argument from 
prophecy. If it could be shown from prophecy that 
the Gentiles as Gentiles were to be admitted to fellow 
ship with the Jews, the question in debate was already 
determined. (Lechler, Ap. Times, ii. 226, thinks that 
he can discern in James speech the silent hope that 
the Gentiles may avail themselves of the opportunity 
presented to them to become acquainted with the Law 
of Moses, and may in due time submit themselves to 
it freely. So, too, Eothe, Anf. d. ch. Kirche, 314.) 

The second part of the speech lays down the con 
ditions which Gentiles should be asked to observe. 
These conditions are, if possible, more remarkable for 
what they are not than for what they are. They are 
utterly inconsistent with the common opinion that 
James was a zealot for the Jewish Law, and prove 
him to have been a man of a large mind and heart, 
substantially at one with Peter and even with Paul 
and Barnabas. It is noteworthy that he does not 
even allude to the suggestion that circumcision should 
be imposed upon the Gentiles. This, the supreme 
question before the assembly, he passes by as virtually 
settled by the speech of Peter, to the terms of which 
he adhered. Nor does he propose that a single 
distinctively Jewish ordinance should be observed by 
the Gentiles. The whole Law, including the Sabbath 
and the prescriptions as to foods, is given up. No 
fact illustrates so signally the liberality of sentiment 


which he entertained, and which has been too little 
and too seldom recognised. James was, in truth, as 
little disposed to trouble the Gentiles as Peter 
himself. He simply suggests that the Gentiles should 
be directed to abstain from the pollutions of idols, 
from fornication, from things strangled, and from 
blood. He assigns as a reason for these prohibitions 
the fact that Moses from generations of old hath in 
every city them that preach him, being read in the 
Synagogue every Sabbath (Ac 15 21 ). The force of 
these words has been keenly debated ; nor has agree 
ment as to their import yet been reached. Two 
interpretations claim consideration as at once probable 
in themselves and as commanding wide support. 
According to the former of these, the meaning is that 
it is superfluous to address such injunctions to the 
Jews because they are already familiar with them 
from the Law. An obvious and perhaps conclusive 
objection to this interpretation is that James is 
referring throughout to Gentile and not to Jewish 
Christians. Nothing is said as to any directions 
required by the latter. Hence the words must imply 
that the restrictions spoken of were necessary if there 
was to be a union of Jews and Gentiles within the 
Church. The Mosaic Law was preached in every city 
in which Jews were found, and the Jewish Christians 
who worshipped in the Synagogue could not, in view 
of the prescriptions of the Law, hold social intercourse 
with Gentile Christians who might follow practices 
shocking to their moral sense and repugnant to their 


most hallowed usages. The injunctions raised no 
question of principle, but merely specified the con 
ditions which would render fellowship between Jews 
and Gentiles within the same Church possible. If 
the Gentiles consented to observe these prescriptions, 
it would be possible for Christian Jews, the Law not 
withstanding, to enter into religious fellowship with 
Gentile Christians. 

What precisely is the meaning of the four abstin 
ences here named ? The phrase pollutions of idols 
refers to participation in idol worship generally, and 
more particularly, as is suggested by verse 29, partici 
pation in sacrifices made to idols. Such sacrifices were 
an ordinary feature of life throughout the Empire, 
there being few occasions of any importance on which 
they were not offered. A portion only of the sacrifices 
was burnt upon the altar ; what remained was set forth 
as a feast at home or exposed for sale in the market. 

The second proposal of James deals with fornication. 
This term must be taken literally, for how otherwise 
could it be understood by those to whom it was 
addressed ? The word is plain and unambiguous in 
meaning, and never bears any other sense except 
when qualified by the context. Accordingly the 
many ingenious explanations of its force in the 
present connection may be dismissed. This is the 
case even with what is possibly the most widely 
accepted meaning, according to which the phrase 
denotes incest or marriage within the prohibited 
degrees. There is no evidence that the word is ever 


used in this special sense except when the meaning 
is made plain by the context. And the argument 
in its favour relied upon as decisive depends on a 
view of the character of the four precepts under 
discussion which is, to say the least, doubtful, and 
which certainly cannot furnish a rule by which to 
explain the term here employed. The expression 
then refers to sexual immorality in general, and not 
to any special form of it. 

The third requirement forbids the use of things 
strangled. No historical proof of the existence 
of such a custom in Gentile or Jewish circles 
prior to the Congress has been adduced. There 
is no evidence to show that the Jews regarded the 
flesh of strangled animals as unlawful. Such proof 
is certainly not found in the passage commonly cited 
in this connection, Lv 17 13 : "And whatsoever man 
there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers 
that sojourn among them, which taketh in hunting any 
beast or fowl that may be eaten ; he shall pour out 
the blood thereof, and cover it with dust." The Jews 
may have refused to partake of the flesh of strangled 
animals because the blood was not poured out. But 
if such food was disallowed on this ground, the third 
requirement can scarcely be distinguished from the 
fourth, for the presence of blood in strangled animals 
must have been a reason for its being pronounced 
unlawful food. It is, however, possible that the 
method of death by strangulation was peculiarly dis 
tasteful to the Jews, because the blood, which to them 


was the life, was left in the body, and that this 
requirement indicates the one method of putting an 
animal to death which no conscientious Jew could 
tolerate, while the fourth relates not to the method 
of killing, but to the actual partaking of blood as food. 

The fourth prescription is easily understood. From 
the most ancient times not a few peoples have 
regarded blood with extraordinary reverence, as the 
symbol of the mystery of life. To these peoples the 
Jews belonged, and from their earliest history they 
were taught to consider the blood as the seat of life 
(Gn 9 6 , Lv 17 11 , Dt 12 23 ). The command not to use 
blood as food, or flesh not free from blood, was a 
fundamental precept of the Mosaic legislation, and 
was indeed supremely important, because the blood 
according to that legislation was the means of atone 
ment. But even in the Pentateuch the precept to 
abstain from blood is represented as a primitive 
ordinance. (Dillmann on Gn 9 C ; Kalisch, Leviticus, 
Essay on the Prohibition of Blood. ) 

Such, then, were the prescriptions which James 
proposed should be laid on the Gentiles. What 
explanation is to be given of their selection ? Whence 
were they derived ? The answer most commonly 
given is that these precepts correspond to the legis 
lation contained in Lv 17, 18, which was imposed 
equally upon strangers and native Jews. The re 
quirements as to things sacrificed to idols are 
found in Lv 17 7 , as to blood in 17 10 , as to 
things strangled in 17 13 , and as to fornication in 


18 6 " 26 . But this view, however popular, has little 
support. The resemblance between the four specific 
precepts of James and the many precepts of Leviticus 
touching strangers is very slight. The contents of 
the two chapters specified differ widely from the four 
requirements of James. Only by the most arbitrary 
processes can a close correspondence be established 
between them. It is indeed impossible to read the 
two chapters referred to, as well as the whole legisla 
tion affecting strangers, without perceiving how dis 
similar are the restrictions suggested by James from 
the legislation of Leviticus. To deny that any con 
nection exists between the ordinances in Leviticus 
as to strangers and the provisions laid down by 
James would be unreasonable, but no direct relation 
between them can be made out. 

Another common explanation identifies the require 
ments with what are known as the seven precepts of 
Noah. These were (Schiirer, Jewish People, n. ii. 318) : 
to obey those in authority ; to sanctify the name of 
God ; to abstain from idolatry ; to commit no fornica 
tion ; to do no murder ; not to steal ; not to eat living 
flesh, namely, flesh with the blood in it. But the four 
prescriptions of James are quite different from these 
seven precepts, and no explanation can be given why 
the entire seven and not four of them only should 
have been chosen. Moreover, it is, to say the least, 
very doubtful whether these seven precepts existed 
in the time of James. It is more probable that the 
four requirements of James preceded than that they 


succeeded the seven precepts ascribed to Noah. 
Further, even if these latter precepts were current, 
there is no evidence that they ever embodied more 
than a mere speculation. They were intended to 
apply to all who lived permanently in the Holy Land, 
and nothing is more certain than that they were not 
observed by the Koman and Greek inhabitants of 
that land in our Lord s time. Once more, it is con 
tended that the strangers sojourning in the land of 
Israel on whom these seven precepts were binding 
are the same as the fearers of God, the Gentiles who 
attached themselves more or less closely to Judaism 
but who remained uncircumcised. The identification, 
however, of the sojourner with the fearer of God 
is quite arbitrary, and there is no proof that the class 
who frequented the synagogue without being circum 
cised accepted the seven commandments of Noah. 

But against both these views there is the in 
superable argument that neither of them, strictly 
interpreted, is consistent with the principle that the 
Gentiles were to be exempt from the Jewish law. 
For obviously they proceed on the assumption that 
certain Jewish regulations are to be imposed on the 
Gentiles. It may, indeed, be urged that the four 
abstinences, though derived from existing Jewish 
requirements, were not meant to be treated as such, 
but simply as affording a basis for common religious 
worship and fellowship between Jews and Gentiles 
in mixed churches. But is this view in harmony 
with their alleged origin ? 


Again, it has been suggested that the precepts were 
intended as indications of true religion and not of 
Judaism in the exclusive sense (Hort, Judaistic 
Christianity, 71). It was of the utmost consequence 
that the Gentile converts should not be tempted to 
misconceive the nature of Christian liberty. Hence 
the propriety of laying upon them the four restraints 
spoken of. But can this view be maintained in the 
face of the contents of the precepts and of their 
history in the Church ? How can the presence of 
the precept relating to things strangled be thus 
explained ? Had the command as to blood stood 
alone, it might have been argued with much plausi 
bility that the conditions were wholly moral ; but it 
is hardly possible to maintain this opinion, seeing 
that things strangled as well as blood are mentioned. 
While it is true that abstinence from things strangled 
is possibly only a special instance of the abstinence 
from blood, yet the insertion of this case as indepen 
dent and special renders the moral explanation of 
the four precepts very questionable. Its presence 
can be satisfactorily explained only by circumstances 
peculiar to the time ; by the dislike and disgust felt 
for the practice by the Jews. The fact, too, that the 
prohibitions relating to blood and things strangled 
soon ceased to be observed within the Church, tends 
to show that they were hardly considered as signs or 
embodiments of true religion. 

The explanation of the choice of the four precepts 
must accordingly be sought elsewhere. The most 


obvious quarter in which to seek it is in the senti 
ments and feelings of the two sections of the Christian 
Church. The practices referred to may have been 
condemned in the course of the dispute by those 
who insisted that the Gentiles should be circumcised, 
and it is possible that James proposed to satisfy 
them by prohibiting these practices (Lightfoot, Gal. 
295). But would these four offences alone have been 
specified by the opponents of circumcision, and would 
James have taken it on himself to embody them in 
the decision of the Council without consulting his 
fellow-Apostles ? Is it not simpler and more natural 
to hold that these four prohibitions were the fruit of 
mature discussion between Peter, James, and John 
on the one hand, and Paul and Barnabas on the other ? 
When they were conferring together, the first subject 
that would rise after the question of principle had 
been settled was, what was to be done in the case of 
the Church of Antioch ? The Gentiles were to be 
pronounced free from the Jewish Law. But were no 
restraints of any kind to be placed on them ? Could 
the Jews be expected to mix freely with them if they 
systematically violated their most hallowed usages ? 
Was it certain that even the moral conduct of the 
Gentiles would be such as became Christians ? Would 
every Gentile acknowledge that fornication was a 
grave sin ; that participation in a sacrifice offered to 
idols was virtually idolatry ? Was it not desirable 
that they should be told in plain words to abstain 
from these transgressions ; and would it not be well 


also, in the interests of unity and concord, that they 
should also be asked to avoid the use of things 
strangled and of blood ? Such self-restraint on their 
part would be no infringement of principle, and would 
tend to produce friendly relations between their 
Jewish brethren and themselves. 

It is almost certain, then, that the origin of the 
restrictions is to be found in their aim. And there 
can be little doubt that what James proposed to 
accomplish by means of them was the fusion of the 
two branches of the Christian Church. It is quite 
evident that he had no intention to impose the Jewish 
Law upon the Gentiles, for he expressly repudiates 
such a purpose. He does not ask them to be 
circumcised, to observe the Sabbath, to conform to 
the law of meats and drinks, or to practise ceremonial 
ablutions. After declaring that they should not be 
subjected to the Jewish Law, it would have been 
absurd for him to propose that they should keep a 
mere fragment of that Law. To have made any 
portion of it binding upon them would have been to 
violate the principle he himself acknowledged, namely, 
that the Gentiles were free from all Jewish obliga 
tions, and would have been inconsistent with the 
truth that salvation is of faith. To have enjoined 
the four precepts as Jewish requirements, or as 
indispensable to salvation, would, in fact, have been 
to decide in favour of the false brethren and not in 
favour of the Church at Antioch. 

Nor could the purpose of James have been to place 


the Gentiles in a position of inferiority to the Jews 
within the Church, to assign to them a lower rank 
like that given to the fearers of God within the 
Synagogue. This is inconsistent with his statement 
that the Gentiles as such were to be received into the 
Church. If this were the will of God, it implied that 
they were to occupy the same position as Jews. 
Besides, to put them on a lower grade was virtually 
to deny them full citizenship within the kingdom, and 
to affirm that to the Jews alone belonged its highest 
privileges. But such a relation of the Gentiles to 
the Jews is plainly inconsistent with salvation by 

The restrictive clauses suggested by James had no 
relation, then, to the question of the salvation of the 
Gentiles, or of the respective places of Jews and 
Gentiles within the kingdom of God. His object was 
to secure the union in social fellowship of the two 
branches of the Church in mixed communities. In the 
interests of Christianity it was indispensable that 
there should be no schism within the Church. Jews 
and Gentiles must mix freely together, and must 
take their places at the table of the Lord. The pro 
posals of James were framed with this end in view. 
He saw at once how necessary and how difficult it 
was to persuade his Jewish fellow-believers to join 
in common worship with their Gentile fellow- 
Christians, and more especially so long as these 
continued to adhere to habits of life and usages 
peculiarly abhorrent to the Jews. To prevent so 


disastrous a result as discord and disunion it was 
meet that the Gentile Christians should submit to 
certain restrictions that might form a basis for 
common worship and intercourse. The concessions 
he suggested were such as would satisfy the Jew and 
could without difficulty or sacrifice of principle be 
observed by the Gentile. It is possible that he and 
his fellow-Apostles were aware that some Gentile 
Christians at Antioch, influenced by the atmosphere 
in which they had been brought up, were indisposed 
to regard the eating of flesh offered to idols and 
fornication as moral offences. The sins of idolatry 
and impurity were peculiarly hateful to the Jews, 
not only because of their divergence from the Law 
of Moses but also because of their incompatibility 
with true religion ; yet they were hardly ranked as 
sins by the Gentiles, and it was therefore well that 
Gentile Christians should have abstinence from them 
imposed by a special rule. The very existence of 
such a rule would make it much easier for a Jew to 
join them in worship. Still easier would worship be 
for him, if he was aware that his Gentile fellow- 
Christian had undertaken to abstain from things 
strangled and from blood. The profound moral horror 
with which the Jews regarded the eating of blood can 
hardly be understood by us, but it doubtless lay at 
the root of the suggestion made by James. 

This view of the purpose of James seems almost 
self-evident, and to be demanded by the circumstances 
of the case. How, it may be asked, could the Con- 


ference neglect the settlement of so urgent and 
practical a question as that of the relations between 
the Gentile and Jewish sections of the Church ? 
Could such men as the Apostles have failed to provide 
for an emergency that had actually arisen ? Why 
should James have mentioned these precepts at all had 
this not been his purpose ? Was it possible that he 
could have contemplated the permanent division of the 
Church at Antioch into two groups ? Was this really 
his policy ? Or, on the other hand, did he not foresee 
the effect of the enactment he suggested ? Surely 
it is to do James and the other Apostles the utmost 
injustice to hold that they did not deal with a question 
inseparably connected with the question of principle 
which they had just settled. They proposed to decide 
that no Gentile should be circumcised in order to 
become a Christian. They probably also took for 
granted that the Jews would adhere to the Law. 
Now a strict observance of the Law meant for the 
Jew the avoidance of social intercourse, and especially 
of fellowship at meals, with the Gentiles. But this 
avoidance amounted to a virtual denial that his 
Gentile fellow-believers were fellow-Christians. How 
then were the two sections of the Church to unite 
for service and worship ? The obvious path was that 
suggested by James, that of requiring reasonable 
concessions from the Gentiles. The Congress, in fact, 
would have stultified itself had it neglected to 
determine the relations between Jews and Gentiles 
in such a community as Antioch. 


It has, however, been urged that the decision of 
the Conference does not even look at the case of 
intercourse in mixed Churches (Weiss, Biblical Theol. 
i. 202); for, according to Ac 15 21 , the concessions of 
the Gentile Christians were made not on account of 
the Jewish Christians, but because of the synagogue. 

This interpretation, however, is altogether unsatis 
factory. Who can believe that certain obligations 
were imposed on the Gentiles with a view to the 
conversion of Jews, and that one of the principal 
resolutions of the Congress bore not on the relation 
of Jewish and Gentile converts which called loudly 
and instantly for settlement, but on the vague and 
remote question of the possible conversion of the Jews 
to Christianity ? 

Again, it has been contended (Zahn, Einl. ii. 431) 
that the four precepts are not concerned with the 
relations between Jewish and Gentile Christians, for 
the narrative in Acts does not contain a syllable 
on this topic. A Jewish Christian would have con 
tracted Levitical defilement by holding social and 
religious fellowship even with a Gentile obeying the 
four commands. This last assertion is true, but its 
application is much wider than is often perceived. 
Had the Law been acted on by the Jewish Christians, 
there could have been no religious intercourse of any 
kind between them and the Gentiles. Is it possible 
to hold that so obvious a fact escaped the notice of 
James, or Peter, or Paul ? The speeches of Peter and 
James presuppose fellowship between the two sections 


of the Church, and the aim of James was to lay down 
conditions which would render that fellowship practi 
cable. The main, if not the sole purpose of the four 
conditions, was the maintenance and promotion of 
Christian union in mixed Churches. Of what value 
or significance would have been these restrictions in 
purely Gentile Churches ? Their one sphere was 
that of communities consisting of Jews and Gentiles. 
Further, it is asserted (McGiffert, Apostolic Age, 215) 
that the resolution of the Council betrays no 
apprehension of the difficulties existing in Antioch. 
But the situation is exactly that contemplated by the 
resolution. It was meant that the Jewish Christians 
should continue to worship side by side with their 
Gentile fellow-Christians as before. The Jew was to 
treat the Gentile as an equal and a brother. James 
undoubtedly intended that the provisions he suggested 
should govern the relations between Jews and 
Gentiles, and that by means of them they should 
meet on common ground. 

It is virtually implied in the conclusion now 
reached as to the nature of the four precepts, that 
they were novel, and that they had not been already 
acted on in any Christian communities. Had they 
been, as many writers believe, simply the rules 
regulating the admission of Gentile hearers to the 
Synagogue, it would be highly probable that they 
were already in force within Christian circles. For 
Christian Jews in mixed communities might well 
expect from their Gentile fellow-Christians compliance 


with such observances as the Jews required from 
Gentile worshippers in the synagogue. Compliance 
would be the easier, because most of the Gentile 
Christians belonged in the first instance to this class. 
But, as we have seen, the precepts were not the 
obligations imposed upon the fearers of God in the 
synagogue. Is it likely, then, that they were in 
existence anywhere before the Assembly met ? Had 
the Jews and Gentiles in any mixed community come 
to such an arrangement as that indicated in the 
decision, and was it the knowledge that such mutual 
concession had already wrought well which induced 
James to submit his proposal to the Congress ? This 
opinion is captivating, and would, if true, throw fresh 
light on the decision ; but it is open to weighty 
objections. If a compromise existed anywhere, it 
would have been in Antioch ; yet no such rules appear 
to have existed there. (Zahn, EinL ii. 432, believes 
that the rules were acted on in Antioch.) The 
evidence points to the absolute freedom of the Church 
in Antioch from all Jewish restrictions. Such 
absence accounts most readily for the demand made 
by the Judaisers who visited Antioch and for the 
controversy which they raised. Had they found the 
community there abstaining from blood and from 
things strangled, their demand, if made at all, would 
probably have taken a different shape. Further, the 
narrative in Acts suggests that the precepts mentioned 
by James were new. He does not refer to them as 
already in force anywhere, but adduces them as 


contributing to the settlement of the question in 
debate. The question was now raised for the first 
time, and the rules suggested by James must there 
fore have been novel. 

Did James intend that the restrictions of which 
he spoke should be binding permanently on all 
Gentile Christians? Or was the decision meant to 
be local and temporary? Perhaps the contrast 
suggested by these questions lay beyond the horizon 
of James and his fellow- Apostles. The resolution 
of the Assembly was meant to endure as long as the 
circumstances which called it forth lasted. There is 
nothing in the speech of James, when submitting 
his proposals, which suggests that he thought of the 
decision as merely local and temporary; and the 
language which he employed on Paul s last visit to 
Jerusalem (Ac 21) shows that he regarded this 
decision of the Council as governing the relations 
between the Jewish and Gentile branches of the 
Church. But this circumstance does not prove that 
he conceived the restrictions to be of universal and 
lasting obligation. Such an opinion is at variance 
with the principles common to Paul, Peter, and 
himself, and with the purpose contemplated by the 
prohibitions. It can hardly be doubted that the 
rules laid down by the Convention were intended for 
all Churches in which the question of the relations 
between Jews and Gentiles should arise. Such 
Churches were pre-eminently those of Syria and 
Cilicia, to which the letter embodying the decision 


of the Congress was addressed. To infer, however, 
from the limitation of the address that no other 
Churches were contemplated would be rash, for it 
is stated (Ac 16 4 ) that Paul and Barnabas on their 
second missionary journey made known the restrictions 
to the Churches which they had founded on their 
former visit. On the other hand, the absence from 
the decision of the Congress of any reference to these 
Churches makes it plain that the Synod did not 
regard itself as legislating for the entire Church. 
Again, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, two at 
least of the prohibitions, those relating to fornica 
tion and to flesh offered in sacrifice, are fully dealt 
with by Paul (1 Co 5 1 - 13 6 18 ~ 20 8 1 - 3 lO 14 " 22 ) without 
any reference whatever to the decision of the Con 
gress. He could not have proceeded in this way 
had he regarded the question of these observances as 
finally settled by the judgment of the Convention. 
He cannot, therefore, have taught in Corinth the 
obligation of the four precepts : otherwise it would 
have been impossible for the Corinthians to raise 
the questions concerned, or for him to discuss them 
as he does. 

It is unnecessary to labour the argument against 
the unconditional character of these observances 
drawn from their nature and from their history in 
the Church, for it is impossible to deny that the 
character and history of the precepts alike forbid 
the view that they were intended to bind the con 
sciences of all Christians. Further, this opinion, as 


has been shown, is at variance with a just notion of 
the aim of the requirements. Intended simply to 
facilitate intercourse between the Jewish and Gentile 
sections of the Church, they ceased to be necessary 
when that end was gained, and were superfluous 
where its attainment was not required, as in the 
case of purely Jewish and of purely Gentile Churches. 
It may then be concluded that James, in making his 
suggestions, intended them to apply as long as the 
situation with which they dealt existed. Whether 
he believed that that situation would endure inde 
finitely cannot be ascertained. It is possible that 
he believed it would last to the Second Advent, but 
on this point it is impossible to speak. What must, 
however, be emphasised is the special purpose of the 
provisions ; for this purpose involves their limited 
and transitory character. 

The proposals made by James were accepted by 
the whole Assembly. They were welcomed as the 
best possible solution of the dispute that had arisen. 
If the view already expressed that Paul and Barnabas 
had had frequent interviews with Peter, James, and 
John, and that at these all the questions under 
discussion were fully examined and common action 
agreed on, the significance of the decision is plain. 
The Congress determined that the Gentiles were 
wholly free from any obligation to observe the 
Mosaic Law. 

If, then, the final deliverance of the Congress was 
prepared beforehand by Paul and Barnabas along 


with James, Peter, and John, it follows that the 
inference commonly drawn from the fact that James 
proposed the restrictive clauses of the decree becomes 
exceedingly precarious. It has often been contended 
that the logical result of the speech of Peter would 
have been the complete emancipation of the Gentiles 
from the Law, and that this would have become the 
decision of the Congress had it not been for the 
attitude of James. James had not yet reached 
the same convictions as Paul and Peter, and con 
sequently could not have acquiesced in the exemption 
that either of them might have proposed. It must 
be allowed as possible that James in the private 
conferences may have been the first to suggest the 
necessity of certain restrictions, and may even have 
indicated what these should be. In his position as 
the local representative of the Church of Jerusalem 
such a proposal was natural. It came with propriety 
from the man who understood perhaps better than 
most the temper of the Jewish Christians. But 
there is no reason for thinking that Peter and Paul 
did not freely concur in the view taken by James as 
to the necessity of certain abstinences being enforced 
on the Gentiles in mixed Churches. Both of them 
were too sagacious not to perceive that the precepts 
suggested were required by the existing circumstances 
of the Church. Nor could either of them hesitate 
for a moment in cordially adopting them, as their 
selection raised no question of Christian principle. 
The responsibility, then, for the restrictive clauses of 


the decision must rest not with James exclusively, 
but with Paul and Barnabas, Peter and John as 
well. And consequently the fact that it fell to 
James at the Congress to propose these clauses does 
not warrant the conclusion that he was more strongly 
attached to the Mosaic ordinances than Peter or John. 
The credibility of Luke s report of the Convention 
has been repeatedly assailed alike in whole and in 
parts. It is unnecessary to discuss here the trust 
worthiness of his narrative in general. But the argu 
ments advanced against the genuineness of the speech 
attributed to James deserve and reward consideration. 
It has been contended that the speech is unhistorical, 
the author of the Acts merely putting sentiments into 
his mouth, sentiments, too, quite at variance with those 
he actually entertained. What now are the reasons 
brought forward to support this view ? It is alleged 
that if James made the quotation from Amos ascribed 
to him, he must have spoken in Greek, and that a 
speech in Greek delivered at a Congress in Jerusalem 
is out of the question. But both these assertions are 
precipitate. It is most probable that the proceedings 
of the Congress were carried on in Aramaic ; but they 
might have been carried on in Greek, 1 as is shown by 
the fact that the crowd in Jerusalem which Paul 
addressed from the stairs evidently expected him 
to speak in Greek, not in Aramaic (Ac 22). It is 
possible, too, that some who went up from Antioch, 

1 Plumptre on Ac 15 holds that the discussion was carried on in 


Titus, for example, were ignorant of Aramaic, and 
that for their sakes the discussion, if conducted in 
Aramaic, was also translated into Greek. But it by 
no means follows from the quotation made by James 
that he spoke in Greek and not in Aramaic. It is 
quite true that the language of the LXX in the 
passage in question diverges widely from that of the 
Hebrew text, and that James undoubtedly followed 
the version of the LXX. But why may he not have 
translated from the LXX into Aramaic ? He was 
probably better acquainted with the LXX than with 
the Hebrew original. Why should he not then have 
made use of it ? Under any circumstance, James was 
under the necessity of translating. Why should he 
not have translated from the Greek as readily as from 
the Hebrew, especially if the language of the Greek 
version were the more applicable to his purpose ? 

Again, it is alleged that the sentiment which 
regards the imposition of the Law on the Gentiles as 
a burden is derived from Paul. But this assertion is 
unwarranted. The view in question is Christian not 
Pauline. It is in no sense peculiar to Paul. It was 
the common opinion of the Christian Church, held as 
much, according to Paul s own testimony, by James, 
Peter, and John as by himself. It is the only view 
of the Law compatible with a correct interpretation 
of our Lord s teaching regarding the conditions of 
entrance into His kingdom, and even regarding the 
Law itself: and this teaching was confirmed by his 
attitude towards the Pharisees, who were the cham- 


pions of the Law, and towards the usages which they 
regarded as binding. 

It is further contended that James could not have 
submitted the proposals which are associated with his 
name, because Paul virtually asserts that none were 
made, and also because the dispute at Antioch would 
have been impossible had the Convention ratified the 
suggestions made by James. The first of these argu 
ments rests on an erroneous interpretation of Paul s 
words (Gal 2 6 ). 1 What Paul asserts is simply that 
James, Peter, and John accepted his teaching, and 
found nothing in it to amend. That the four prohibi 
tions mentioned by James were adopted by the 
Council is not in the least degree at variance with 
Paul s statement ; for these restrictions do not bear 
upon doctrine, but upon practice. The controversy 
at Antioch must be considered immediately. It is 
enough to say that the argument put forward in con 
nection with it is wholly unconvincing. 

Lastly, it has been urged that it is impossible that 
the James of the Acts could ever have been the 
leader of the party who opposed Paul throughout his 
whole life, and who continued to malign him long 
after his death. A James who believed that the 
Mosaic Law was not binding on the Gentiles, and who 
accepted the principle that Jews and Gentiles alike 
were saved by the grace of God (Ac 1 5 11 ), could never 
have become the leader of those Christians who were 
fanatically zealous for the Law, and who refused to 
1 Cf. p. 176. 


acknowledge that any uncircumcised person was a 
Christian. This argument is conclusive, but destroys 
the position which it is meant to defend. James was 
never the leader of the party referred to. If its 
adherents used his name, they did so without his 
authority. Whether they acted thus while he was 
alive is uncertain, for the expression in Gal 2 12 does 
not imply that the persons spoken of formed a party 
called by his name. But, even though his name had 
been used by a section of the Church during his life 
time, it would not follow that these were his personal 
adherents and disciples. Why should the name of 
James not have been abused, as, for instance, the name 
of Peter at Corinth ? No force can be attached to 
the position assigned to James in the Clementine 
literature, for that literature is fiction, not fact. The 
declaration of Paul is final and authoritative regard 
ing the convictions of James. The only reasonable 
interpretation of that declaration is that they were 
both of the same mind on all the fundamental ques 
tions of Christianity, and especially on the question 
as to the obligation of the Law on the Gentiles. 

The speech, then, of James is genuine, and as such 
ought to be carefully studied in connection with the 
letter which bears his name. The harmony between 
the two is remarkable. The attitude of James towards 
the Law in his Epistle prepares us for his attitude 
towards the question of circumcision at the Congress. 
The author of the Epistle could not have held that 
circumcision was required for salvation, and hence, 


when the question came up at the Congress, James 
gave his voice against such an opinion. To the author 
of the letter the source of salvation was the grace of 
God, and faith the fundamental Christian virtue. The 
same truths are implied in the speech made by James 
at the Congress. But what is the significance of the 
agreement in spirit and in teaching between the James 
of the Epistle and the James of the Acts ? How does 
it come to pass that the James of the Epistle and the 
James of the Acts are one and the same person? 
According to the view defended by several writers of 
eminence, the Epistle and the Acts are alike spurious. 
The Epistle was not written by James, the speech in 
Acts was not made by him. How then is the likeness 
between them to be explained ? Had the author of 
Acts read the Epistle, or the author of the Epistle 
read the Acts ? What a genius the writer must have 
been who was able from one forged work to forge 
another widely different in character, the points of 
resemblance between which do not strike the ordinary 
eye and are evidently incidental and undesigned ! 
Further, the supposed authors of the Epistle and of 
the Acts delineated a James who, according to the 
view under discussion, is not the James of Christian 
history. What possible motives could induce them 
to depart from the tradition they received ? These 
considerations vindicate afresh the genuineness alike 
of the Epistle and of the Acts. An impartial judge 
will not refuse to acknowledge that the James of the 
Epistle is the James of the Congress. He would also 


add without hesitation that the James of the Epistle 
and of the Congress is also the James of the Epistle 
to the Galatians, and his final verdict would be that 
the James of several modern historians is not the 
James of history. 

The decision of the Assembly was unanimous. 
Apostles, elders, and members alike approved of the 
views expressed by James, and their decision took the 
form which he suggested. It would, however, argue 
ignorance of human nature to conclude that this 
unanimity was in every case sincere and thorough. 
But certainly no voice was raised against the adoption 
of the course proposed. And, possibly for the time, 
a real unity of sentiment was generated by the testi 
mony of Barnabas and Paul, and by the speeches of 
Peter and James. It was felt that the answer of the 
Congress must correspond to the gravity of the 
occasion. Accordingly, it was decided that the 
delegates from Antioch should be accompanied on 
their return thither by Judas Barsabbas and Silas, 
two men of eminent position and authority in the 
Church of Jerusalem, who should carry a letter 
embodying the views of the Synod, and should at the 
same time convey verbally to the Church at Antioch 
the sentiments of the Church in Jerusalem. The 
letter was written in the name of the whole Church, 
and was addressed to the Gentile Christians in Syria 
and Cilicia. It opened with an express disavowal and 
condemnation of those who had gone from Jerusalem 
to Antioch and taught the necessity of circumcision. 


It declared that they had done so of their own accord, 
and that their teaching subverted the soul. The letter 
further stated that Judas Barsabbas and Silas had 
been selected to be its bearers, and to confirm its con 
tents to the Church at Antioch by word of mouth. 
There was further contained in it an assertion of the 
love cherished in Jerusalem for Barnabas and Paul, 
and a just tribute to the Christian heroism which they 
had shown in their missionary labours. The letter 
closed with an enumeration of the four abstinences 
which were to be observed by them and which were 
described as necessary. Attention to these would 
bring peace and harmony to the community. 

The sense in which the term necessary is 
employed in this letter admits of no doubt. The 
necessity spoken of is not that of morals but of expedi 
ency. It relates to the circumstances of the Church 
and not to any conduct enjoined by the law of God. 

The letter was possibly written by James. There 
is no argument against this view, for a document of 
this kind would hardly have been put into its present 
shape by Luke, and the resemblance between the form 
of the letter and of the opening verses of the Gospel 
of Luke is not such as to render it in the least degree 
likely that Luke impressed his characteristic style 
upon it. (So Wendt, Apostelgeschichte.) The diction 
of the letter is strikingly akin to that of the Epistle 
of James, and hence the suggestion that it was com 
posed by James himself acquires much probability. 

There was a time when the genuineness of the 


resolution of the Conference was more questioned than 
it is to-day. The spirit of historical criticism still 
runs riot at times, but no scholar with any reputation 
for insight will pronounce the so-called decree a mere 
fabrication. It bears on its face the plainest evidence 
of originality. It is a document which would have 
had no significance after the destruction of Jerusalem, 
and must indeed belong to the earliest years of the 
Church, for it deals with the question of the relations 
between Gentiles and Jews, a question which must 
have been stirred as soon as the conversion of Gentiles 
on any scale took place. Its contents are equally 
favourable to its historical character. The reference 
to the Holy Spirit and to the unity of sentiment of 
the Congress, the order of the names Paul and 
Barnabas, the Churches addressed, the repudiation of 
the bigots who stole into the church at Antioch, are 
conclusive proof of its authenticity. 

It is argued, however, that it cannot have been 
passed at the time and in the manner specified, 
because it could not possibly be accepted by Paul. 

The express testimony of Paul is alleged against 
its genuineness. Paul asserts that the leading 
Apostles imparted nothing to him (Gal 2 6 ). This 
assertion is held to exclude the four precepts of the 
decree. Had such enactments been made, it would 
have been impossible for Paul to say that James, 
Peter, and John had imparted nothing to him. But 
is this really the case ? What is the true force of 
Paul s assertion ? Is it not simply that the Apostles 


were fully satisfied with his teaching, and that they 
found nothing in it to which they sought to add or from 
which they wished to take? His gospel required 
neither to be enlarged nor diminished. On all that 
constituted the central truths of Christianity they and 
he were one. This is plainly what he affirms. Will 
it be said that the four prohibitions, as viewed by 
Paul, form part of the essence of Christianity ? Did 
their observance raise any question of principle ? 
Was not that question determined when it was decided 
that circumcision should not be imposed on the 
Gentiles ? It is certain that the four abstinences as 
interpreted by Paul bore no religious character. 
They were simply conditions of Christian fellowship 
to which no objection could be taken, but stood in no 
connection with the way in which salvation was to be 
had. A man s salvation was independent of them. 
It is to misconceive the teaching of Paul as well as 
to distort his language here, when the inference is 
drawn that the terms of the resolution of the Congress 
are inconsistent with Paul s declaration, that the 
Apostles, when conferring with him regarding his 
teaching, imparted nothing to him. Further, it must 
not be forgotten that the assertion by Paul refers to 
his private conference with the Apostles and not to 
the public Convention. Should a statement regarding 
one event be held to exclude a statement applicable 
to another ? 

But why, it is asked, if the decree was passed, is it 
not mentioned by Paul ? Why is no trace of it to be 



found in his Epistles ? Why is it not mentioned, 
above all, in the Epistle to the Galatians ? Would 
not the quotation of its terms have been the most 
decisi ve answer to the charges of his assailants ? And 
why, too, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians 
(S 10 ) does Paul write as if the decree had no exist 
ence ? It must be granted that the resolution is not 
mentioned or even implied in any of Paul s Epistles, 
and that the language of First Corinthians proves 
that its provisions were not in force in that Church. 
But there is no reason, as we have seen, for holding 
that the enactments were intended to be universal. 
Paul doubtless did not believe that they were required 
in the Church at Corinth, and they may never have 
been introduced into Europe. His silence respecting 
them, however, is no evidence that they were not 
passed. But why does he not refer to them in the 
Epistle to the Galatians ? Why did he not shut the 
mouths of his enemies by quoting the determination 
of the Congress ? Is it then so certain that the 
mention of the decree would have answered his purpose 
and effectually refuted the accusations of his traducers ? 
To cite the decree would not have established any the 
more fully the unanimity of opinion between him and 
the leading Apostles, for that unanimity was far more 
strongly illustrated by the results of the private 
interview than by those of the Congress. 

Again, as we have seen, the terms of the resolution 
had no religious significance in the eyes of Paul. 
What purpose then would have been served by a 


reference to the decision ? Would the Judaistic 
tendencies in the Church of Galatia have been lessened 
thereby ? Is it not clear that the situation of the 
Galatian Churches was wholly different from the 
situation of the Church at Antioch ? The Jewish 
Law was being forced on the Church at Antioch, the 
Churches of Galatia, on the other hand, were being 
persuaded to adopt the Law. The circumstances are 
so radically distinct that a reference serviceable in 
the one case would be of no avail in the other. 
The Churches of Galatia were not anxious to be 
excluded from the sway of the Law of Moses, they 
were possibly being taught that the observance of that 
Law raised them to an equality with the Jews and 
thus made them complete Christians. To prove, by 
quoting the decree, that no Gentile Christian was 
bound by the Jewish Law would have served no 
purpose, and the mention of the four observances 
might but have strengthened the false views already 
current. Again, had Paul referred to the Congress 
and to its decision, he might have been supposed to 
subordinate his own authority as an Apostle to that 
of the Church of Jerusalem or to that of the other 
Apostles, and this he would avoid doing when the 
very question at issue was his title to be an Apostle. 
Once more, the doctrinal position maintained in the 
Epistle goes beyond the exact terms of the resolution 
of the Congress, or, at any rate, relates exclusively to 
the principle it embodied. To deny that salvation is 
obtained through obedience to the Law is to prove 


that no enactments of the Law can be binding upon a 
Christian whether Jew or Gentile. 

Again, the purpose of the decree is held to have 
been to secure the supremacy of the Jews within the 
Church, and to treat the Gentiles as on a lower grade 
than the Jews. This, it is said, Paul could not have 
tolerated. That Paul could not have tolerated such 
relations between Gentiles and Jews is unquestionable ; 
but that the decree had any such intention or effect 
must be denied. Its aim, as has been shown, was to 
restore and preserve concord in the Church of Antioch, 
and to govern the relations between Jews and Gentiles 
in mixed Churches. 

Finally, it is contended that the conduct at Antioch 
of those who came from James is inconceivable if the 
provisions of the decree had been in force. But this 
assertion, as will be shown, is based on a misconcep 
tion of the motives and conduct of the messengers of 

There is no reason then for the assertion that the 
decision of the Congress could not have been accepted 
by Paul. On the contrary, all that we know of his 
attitude alike to Jews and Gentiles renders it intrinsic 
ally probable that he welcomed the suggestion made 
by James, and regarded it as a happy settlement of 
the relations between the Jewish and Gentile Christians 
at Antioch. 

Those who hold that the decree was not passed at 
the Conference, but who are at the same time unwill 
ing to regard it as a simple forgery, have furnished 


different explanations of its origin. It has been con 
jectured that a suggestion made by James at the Con 
ference was altered by the author of the Acts into a 
decision by that body. James threw out the view 
that the Gentiles should practise the four abstinences 
mentioned, and this recommendation was converted by 
the author of the Acts into a formal decree. This 
hypothesis, however, bristles with improbabilities. To 
begin with, the action attributed to the author is 
dishonest. He is charged with conduct of which no 
man with any sense of truthfulness could be guilty. 
Again, why should the writer of Acts have falsified his 
materials in the manner alleged ? What interest had 
he at heart which could be benefited by the insertion 
of the decree in the proceedings of the Conference ? 
Further, would such a writer, after having created 
this imaginary decree, have limited its operation in 
the first instance to the Churches of Syria and Cilicia ; 
then afterwards have allowed it to be delivered to the 
Churches founded before the Conference, leaving it 
unmentioned in all other cases, and nevertheless have 
made James refer to it years later as governing the 
relation between Gentiles and Jews ? The supposition 
staggers belief. Equally incredible is the notion that 
the decree as it stands is fabricated, for few docu 
ments bear on their face such decisive tokens of 
genuineness. Its language exhibits striking affinities 
with that of the Epistle of James, and its substance 
is in the fullest harmony with the circumstances to 
which it applies. The tone and contents of the 


document impress every reader by their naturalness. 
No competent judge will for a moment believe that 
the author of the Acts was capable oi transforming a 
simple suggestion thrown out by James into the decree 
as it appears in the Acts. 

There are those who are unwilling to reject the 
decree wholly, but who consider that it appears out of 
its place. The decree is a genuine article which came 
into the hands of the editor of the Acts without a 
date or any description of the circumstances under 
which it was enacted, and he sought to give it its 
proper position but went astray in his endeavour. 
This hypothesis obviously lies open to the most weighty 
objections. The essential fact is just the opposite of 
what is stated. According to the author of the Acts, 
at any rate, the date and the circumstances of the 
decree were known to him. Is his testimony false ? 
Again, was such a document likely to come into his 
hands t without any explanation of its contents ? Must 
not its date have been given, or the circumstances 
described under which it was promulgated ? Even on 
the assumption that the decree passed into his hands 
in the condition supposed, is not his selection of the 
date as deserving of confidence as that made by any 
writer to-day ? 

It is instructive to examine the place to which the 
decree on this assumption has been assigned. Accord 
ing to one view, it was adopted some time after the 
Conference, when both Peter and Paul were no longer 
in Jerusalem. James and the majority of the Church 


at Jerusalem, perceiving that the complete liberty 
bestowed on the Gentiles at the Conference imperilled 
the prerogatives of their race, enacted the decree in 
order to preserve for themselves the foremost place in 
the kingdom of God. Can any man believe that 
James and the majority of the Church of Jerusalem 
were guilty of such conduct, and that their guilt 
escaped detection until discovered by a scholar of our 
own times ? No trace exists of any such action by 
the Church of Jerusalem. Had it taken place, would 
it not have been mentioned by Paul or by Luke ? It 
occurred presumably before the Epistle to the Galatians 
was written. Why did Paul not refer to it ? 

But who can believe that it did take place ? Were 
James and his fellow-members of the Church of 
Jerusalem capable of revoking of their own accord, 
and without any notice given to the other parties 
concerned, an engagement into which they had solemnly 
entered ? Would they have done so without suggest 
ing the terms of a new compact ? Were they so 
foolish as to expect that ordinances passed by them 
selves would be accepted not only by Peter but by 
Paul and Barnabas and by the Church at Antioch, 
ordinances which, on the assumption in question, 
fettered the freedom of action already existing ? But 
it is said that their desire in framing the decree 
was simply that the Gentiles should show some 
respect for the Mosaic Law. Was this, then, the 
temper of James and the majority of the Church of 
Jerusalem who are believed to have been zealots 


for the Law ? He would have been a poor zealot for 
the Law who was satisfied with such a recognition 
of its claims. To assign the decree to a later date 
than the Congress, on such imaginary grounds, 
merely to produce a result already gained by the 
place it actually occupies in the Acts, is absurd in 
no common degree. 

Again, the decree has been assigned to a date 
subsequent to the discussion between Paul and Peter 
at Antioch (Weizsacker, Apostolic Age, i. 214). The 
early Church refused to permit its members to meet 
the Gentile Christians at table, but were pledged by 
their agreement with Paul not to reject any who 
should profess the Christian faith. Hence they 
sought to solve the question, by getting the Gentile 
Christians, where they lived in contact with Jewish 
Christians, to submit to the conditions under which 
alone the scribes tolerated the presence of heathens 
on Jewish soil. The decree must be assigned to 
this date, because it furnishes no solution of the 
question raised in Jersualem. It does not so much 
decide the belief to be held by the heathen in order 
to be Christians, as prescribe the customs they were 
to observe wherever they were brought into contact 
with Jews. This representation of the resolution 
of the Congress is inaccurate. The main question 
decided was that of principle. The Gentiles were 
not to be made subject to the Law of Moses. After 
the question of principle was settled, the relations 
of Jewish and Gentile Christians in the same Church 


were considered, and it was arranged that the Gentiles 
should be required to observe the four prohibitions 
named. The language of the decision corresponds 
exactly to the circumstances under which the Con 
ference was held. Again, the assertion that the 
question of the relation of Jews and Gentiles in 
mixed communities was not raised until Peter visited 
Antioch cannot be made good. Not only is it 
destitute of probability, but it is contradicted by the 
express statement of Luke in the Acts and also by 
the no less express statement of Paul in Galatians. 
Paul s entire narrative implies that Jewish and 
Gentile Christians met at table in Antioch. Could 
this have happened had the Apostles made it plain 
at the Congress that they did not permit the Jewish 
members of the Church to associate at table with the 
Gentile members ? Apart altogether from the many 
difficulties connected with the promulgation and 
enforcement of the decree at the date named, the 
question occurs whether its contents are in harmony 
with the situation at Antioch, as conceived by the 
scholars who assign its origin to the date under 
discussion. The question was, How should Jewish 
Christians act towards Gentile Christians ? Yet 
nothing is said in the resolution concerning the duties 
of Jewish Christians, nor are the Gentile Christians 
told that they might expect their Jewish brethren 
to mix with them on terms of equality, provided they 
conformed to the precepts given. Besides, it is 
generally held by the scholars in question that the 


result of the dispute at Antioch was the formation 
of a wider gulf than ever between the two sections 
of the Church. Could such a decree as this have 
come into existence when the estrangement between 
the two branches of the Church was acute and 
growing ? 

Once more, the decree has been assigned to the 
last visit of Paul to Jerusalem. It is argued that 
the language of the Acts (2 1 25 ) shows that James 
is speaking of a conclusion which had just been 
reached. But there is not the vestige of a foundation 
for this view. Nothing in the language of James 
implies or suggests a reference to a recent event. 
His words are as readily understood of a decision 
come to ten years before as of one arrived at ten 
days previously. It cannot, indeed, be shown from 
Paul s letters, not even from First Corinthians 
(8 and 10) or from Eomans (14) that Paul was 
acquainted with the terms of the decree ; but there 
is no reason to reject the statement of the Acts that 
the decree was enacted at the Congress of Jerusalem. 
The writer of Acts, at any rate, is consistent in his 
references to the decision. The words he ascribes 
to James are an unmistakable allusion to the letter 
despatched by the Church of Jerusalem to the 
Churches of Syria and Cilicia. 

The various endeavours, then, to find another place 
for the decree from that given it by Luke are 
altogether unsuccessful. They proceed on a mis 
interpretation of the terms of the decree itself, and 


are incompatible with the authority rightly attaching 
to the testimony of the Acts and of the Epistle to 
the Galatians. Besides, if the Congress took place 
at all, the origin of the decree at any of the dates 
suggested is inexplicable. 



"VTOT long after the Conference, as it would appear, 
-^ Peter visited the Church at Antioch. The 
date has been disputed, and its settlement belongs 
more to the life of Peter than of James. An attempt 
has been made to show that Peter could not pos 
sibly have acted as he did at Antioch after the 
Conference, and that consequently the visit referred 
to must have preceded it. But this opinion is 
untenable. No reader of the second chapter of 
Galatians can fail to regard the incident at Antioch 
(2 14 ) as subsequent to the Congress. The Apostle 
is obviously relating events in their chronological 
succession. A date several years after the Conference 
is not excluded by Paul s language, and has been 
favoured by many because they believe that the 
action of Peter can be more easily understood if it 
took place then. But this view, questionable in 
itself, must be rejected, because no evidence exists 
that Paul and Barnabas were ever together again at 
Antioch except on their return thither from the 
Conference. The visit paid by Peter to Antioch was 



probably his first to that city. It has, indeed, been 
held that he may have gone there frequently ; but 
this is improbable because of the tone of the narrative, 
which suggests that the visit in question was the 
first, and also because the circumstances in which 
Peter found himself are represented as novel. Had 
he been at Antioch before, he must have eaten with 
the Gentile Christians freely, and, if so, he could 
scarcely have been so readily intimidated by the 
emissaries from James. Peter was doubtless attracted 
to Antioch by what he had heard at the Conference, 
and possibly he believed that the interests of 
Christianity would be furthered were he to form the 
personal acquaintance of its members. Both the 
Jewish and Gentile branches of the Church would 
receive him gladly, as they cherished for him senti 
ments of trust and veneration. His frank and 
genial nature, the ardour of his convictions, his 
generous and sympathetic words, must speedily have 
made him a general favourite. He identified himself 
at once with Paul and Barnabas, and mixed as freely 
as they with the Gentile members of the Church. 
He ate also along with them, just as he had done 
many years before with Cornelius at Csesarea. This 
action showed the interpretation which he put on 
the decision of the Conference, and expressed his 
deliberate conviction. It was not adopted on the 
impulse of the moment, but embodied the conclusion 
he had reached concerning the course which as a Jew 
he was bound to take in a mixed Church like that 


of Antioch. The Gentiles were as truly Christian 
as himself, and therefore it behoved him to take his 
place beside them at the Feast of Love and at the 
Lord s Supper. That he acted from principle is 
plain not merely from Paul s assumption that their 
opinions were the same, but also from his statement 
that Peter lived after the Gentile fashion. This 
language cannot apply to a mere casual act or series 
of acts ; it can only designate a line of conduct 
adopted with a full knowledge of its significance. 

The happy and friendly relations between Peter 
and the Gentile section of the Church, as well as 
between its two branches, were rudely broken in upon 
by the arrival of certain persons from Judaea who 
are described by Paul as " certain who came from 
James." The import of this phrase has been keenly 
discussed, although its sense seems tolerably plain. 
The words cannot signify merely persons who came 
from Jerusalem, for this meaning is clearly inadequate. 
Whoever they were, they stood in a definite relation 
to James, and had not simply come from the Church 
of which he was a leading member. Equally erroneous 
is the opinion that the words designate adherents 
of James, members of a party of which he was 
the head. This interpretation, though not wholly 
inadmissible on grammatical grounds, does not com 
mend itself in the present passage, is totally at 
variance witli the testimony of Paul regarding the 
opinions of James, and is altogether uncorroborated 
by history. No body of men bearing the name of 


followers of James, because of certain tenets or 
usages which he taught them, is known to have 
existed, and the James of the New Testament would 
have been the first to denounce such disciples. All 
that can be said, then, regarding the " certain who 
came from James " is that they stood in some con 
nection with James, and probably bore a commission 
from him. It may be taken for granted that if 
their duty had respect to the relations between the 
Churches, the deputies did not belong to the party 
that had insisted on circumcision. The clear 
judgment of James would lead him to select for this 
purpose men who were not hostile to the sentiments 
and usages prevailing in Antioch. The exact nature 
of their mission cannot, however, be determined ; 
and hence it is not plain whether they belonged to 
the more moderate or to the more extreme section 
of the Church. Accordingly the assumption so 
commonly made, that the emissaries brought a 
message to Peter from James is illegitimate. It is 
not even certain that they were sent by James at 
all, but it is far less certain that they were sent by 
him with a special message to Peter. In our 
ignorance it is unreasonable to hold that the 
messengers were despatched by James to learn 
whether the decision of the Conference was being 
carried out at Antioch, or to secure that the Jews 
and Gentiles should keep apart from one another. 
But it is still more unreasonable to assert that they 
were sent by James because he had heard that Peter 


was associating freely with Gentiles, or because he 
felt that he might possibly do so. The opinion 
that James distrusted the conduct of Peter, and 
indeed disapproved of it, rests on a foundation of 
sand if based on the phrase " certain who came from 
James," even when coupled with their language and 
conduct ; for there is no reason to think that they 
expressed the mind of James. Yet the assumption 
that they represented the sentiments of James, if they 
did not actually speak in his name, is maintained 
with such confidence and has gained such currency 
as to require some examination. A report, it is said, 
was carried from Antioch to Jerusalem, that Peter 
allowed himself free intercourse with the Gentiles, 
and James sent messengers to censure his conduct 
(Holsten, Evang. Petr. und Paul, 357); or uneasiness 
was felt at Jerusalem regarding the possible conduct 
of Peter at Antioch, and James on this account 
despatched messengers there to caution him regard 
ing his course. (Hort, Judaistic Christianity, 81.) 
But is even this latter view probable, though 
coupled with the suggestion that complaint was 
made from Antioch as to Peter s behaviour ? Is 
this representation of the action of James at all 
likely ? Who would complain at Antioch of Peter s 
conduct ? The Gentile section of the Church ? This 
is out of the question. The Jewish branch ? This 
seems contradicted by the narrative in Galatians. 
Further, would James have communicated his views 
regarding the conduct of Peter to messengers, by word 


of mouth rather than by letter to Peter himself ? 
Again, did James disapprove of Peter s conduct ? 
Was Peter s action different from what James con 
templated when proposing the restrictive clauses of 
the decision of the Congress ? To answer these 
questions in the affirmative is to place an interpre 
tation on the attitude and language of James 
unsanctioned by the testimony either of Paul or of 
Luke. It has been seen that James in proposing 
these clauses had the case of Antioch in view, and 
that the articles lose their significance and reality 
unless they were meant to unite the Gentile and 
Jewish Christians there and elsewhere in worship 
and fellowship. To believe that James, Peter, and 
John desired the formation at Antioch of separate 
Jewish and Gentile congregations is, in view of the 
history of the Church at Antioch and of Paul s 
statement in Galatians, out of the question. To 
assert that the thought of a Love Feast, at which 
both Gentiles and Jews sat down, was abhorrent to 
James, contradicts the testimony of Paul, that on the 
matter of principle James and he were substantially 
at one. If James expected, as he doubtless did, 
that his proposal would form the basis of Christian 
union, he must have anticipated that the Jewish 
section of the Christian Church should mix freely 
with the Gentile, provided the four conditions laid 
down were duly observed. He could not then have 
objected to Peter s doing what he allowed other 
Jewish Christians to do. What else could Peter 


have done if there was to be genuine Christian 
fellowship and common worship on the part of the 
Christians at Antioch ? Besides, would Paul have 
remained ignorant of the real cause of the defection 
of Peter and Barnabas ; and, had he known it, could 
he possibly have omitted some reference to James 
and his deputies when condemning the conduct of 
Peter ? If James had really instigated that conduct 
he must have changed his views : otherwise Paul could 
not have stated so decisively that Peter and James 
and himself were of one mind at the Conference. 
Accordingly, it must not be inferred, from the action 
taken by the delegates of James, that he disapproved 
of anything Peter had done or would do. Such an 
opinion would obviously require the strongest evidence 
in its favour, but evidence of any kind there is none. 

The effect of the presence of the " certain who 
came from James " was most unfortunate. From the 
moment of their arrival they rigidly observed those 
usages to which they were accustomed, and refused 
to hold fellowship with the uncircumcised members 
of the Church. Whether they acted thus from force 
of habit and even of prejudice, or with the deliberate 
purpose of inducing the Gentiles to accept circum 
cision, is not clear. They may have followed their 
hereditary customs, without considering the bearing 
of their conduct on the relations between the Jews 
and the Gentiles within the Church ; or, on the 
other hand, they may have sought, by refusing to 
eat with the Gentiles and by associating with the 


Jews only, to persuade the Gentiles that it was an 
advantage to be circumcised. But not only did 
they observe the Law themselves ; they apparently 
addressed themselves to Peter, and remonstrated with 
him as to the line of conduct he had taken. They 
may have asked why he should disregard the views 
and even the scruples of his fellow-countrymen. 
Why should he seem to make little of the Law ? 
He was but a visitor in Antioch. Why should he 
live as if he were a resident there ? Would not his 
disloyalty to the Law be heard of in Jerusalem and 
among the Jews ? Would not this retard if not im 
peril the prospect of the conversion of their fellow- 
countrymen in Judaea ? What hope would there be 
of bringing Jerusalem and Judaea to the Messiah, if he 
were known to renounce the observance of the Law ? 

It has often been said that the remonstrances of 
those who came from James were addressed in the first 
instance to the Jewish section of the Church rather 
than to Peter. Peter, it is held, yielded only when 
he perceived that the other Jews had lost their faith 
in the rightfulness of the conduct which they had 
hitherto followed. There is not a syllable to this 
effect in the narrative of Paul, nor is there the 
slightest probability that the delegates from James 
thought it expedient to approach the Jewish members 
of the Church at Antioch before approaching Peter 
himself. Did they know these members personally ? 
Were they more likely to persuade them than Peter 
to adhere to their national usages ? The language of 


Paul points to Peter as the first object of their attack. 
It was his conduct with which they found fault. 
Whether they hoped through him to persuade the 
rest of the Jews to separate themselves from their 
Gentile fellow-countrymen cannot be learned. This 
point could be determined only if their view of the 
resolution of the Congress at Jerusalem were known 
to us. Now it is not said that they mentioned that 
decision. Its four precepts were doubtless observed 
in Antioch, and the visitors from Jerusalem would 
have no occasion to complain that the agreement 
arrived at had been departed from. Nor is there any 
evidence that they themselves insisted on the necessity 
of circumcision, or even called in question the free 
intercourse of Jews and Gentiles within the Church. 
They may even have interpreted the decision of the 
Congress as permitting common religious worship and 
fellowship between the Jews and Gentiles within the 
Church at Antioch. It is not necessary to hold that 
they found fault with anything except the action of 
Peter; he, they were convinced, should not have 
abandoned the customs which he followed in Jerusalem. 
Even in Antioch he should never have forgotten that 
he belonged to the Church of Jerusalem and not to 
that of Antioch. 

The considerations urged by the delegates told 
powerfully upon Peter. Their evident disapproval 
filled him with anxiety and alarm. He probably 
recalled his experience at Jerusalem when his conduct 
in eating with Cornelius had been challenged, and was 


unwilling to undergo fresh criticism and to create 
fresh dispeace within the Church. He may have 
judged it more expedient to defer to the wishes of 
the deputies than to the desires of the Church of 
Antioch. He never thought of imposing circumcision 
or any Jewish rite on the Gentiles, or of denying 
their essential equality with the Jews. He simply 
judged that it was wise for him under the circum 
stances to discontinue his social intercourse with 
them. The avoidance of this intercourse, the refusal 
to eat with uncircumcised Christians, did not appear 
to him to involve any question of principle. Accord 
ingly, he withdrew from all fellowship with the 
Gentile section of the Church. He was followed in 
his defection by the rest of the Jews and even by 
Barnabas himself, perhaps the most striking proof of 
the force with which the current of Jewish prejudice 
was running. 

A gulf now divided the Gentile from the Jewish 
section of the Church in Antioch. The separation 
seems to have extended even to the Love Feast and 
the Lord s Supper. But this was to destroy the very 
possibility of a common Christian life. It is probable 
that Peter, Barnabas, and the rest of the Jews did not 
apprehend the logical consequences of their new 
attitude towards the Gentile Christians. They did 
not discern either the speculative or the practical 
results of the course on which they had entered. 
They did not see that it led inevitably to the forma 
tion of two orders or degrees of Christians, a lower 


and a higher ; an arrangement wholly at variance 
with the views held by all Christians touching the 
nature and conditions of salvation. But what Peter 
and Barnabas failed to perceive, Paul with his usual 
rapidity and accuracy of judgment at once discerned. 
The question of principle settled at the Congress was 
virtually again at stake. The issue involved affected 
the very essence of Christianity. The refusal to 
associate with the Gentiles was the rejection and 
subversion of the truth as taught by Jesus. Accord 
ingly, with whatever pain to himself, Paul determined 
to oppose and condemn the action of Peter. He did 
so apparently at a public meeting of the Church. 
He there charged Peter with dissimulation. By this 
he meant that Peter s withdrawal from fellowship 
with the Gentile converts was really inconsistent with 
his own principles. Alike at Csesarea and at Antioch 
Peter had acted on the conviction that the Gentiles 
were no longer unclean. Why then should he 
suddenly change his mind and act as if they were 
unclean ? Was not this virtually to compel the 
Gentiles to become Jews ? The effect of the remon 
strance of Paul is not mentioned by him, but there 
can be no doubt that Peter was convinced by it, and 
that he, and doubtless also Barnabas and the rest of 
the Jews, resumed their former relations with their 
Gentile fellow-Christians. 

But how could Peter, in view of the resolution of 
the Conference, allow himself to act as he did ? Did 
not the decision expressly provide that Gentiles and 


Jews should hold religious intercourse on the conditions 
named ? And if religious intercourse, why not social 
fellowship ? Is it reasonable to hold that the emis 
saries from James would have borne with Peter had 
he merely sat at the Lord s Table with the Gentile 
Christians, but that they took offence at his freely 
mingling with them at their meals ? Such a dis 
tinction is probable in itself and may have been 
accepted by them. Possibly, however, they may have 
objected to fellowship of any kind between them and 
Peter as at once uncalled for and dangerous. 

But why did Peter when approached by them not 
appeal at once to the decision of the Conference ? 
Whether he did so or not is unknown. But, even 
though he did, they might have answered that the 
determination referred only to the case of Christians 
belonging to mixed Churches, and not to persons in 
the position of Peter and themselves. It is not 
requisite, in order to explain their conduct, to assume 
that they repudiated the authority of the Congress ; 
this they might have done, but there is no proof that 
they did so. They could even have construed the 
decision in the sense in which it was proposed and 
accepted, and yet have argued that it was not 
applicable to the case of Peter. 

But how, in the face of the decision, could the rest 
of the Jews and even Barnabas have been led to re 
nounce intercourse with the Gentiles ? The explana 
tion must be sought in the defection of Peter, whose 
example was contagious. The precedent of the fore- 


most of the Apostles was the model which every Jew 
set himself to copy. They would not and could not 
desire to act otherwise than he did. If he saw fit to 
change his conduct, he must have adequate reasons 
for doing so. If he ventured to state the considera 
tions of expediency which doubtless satisfied his own 
mind, the same considerations were to them decisive, 
weightier even than the judgment of the Conference 
itself. So far as they reasoned, it was but to conclude 
that the motives which governed Peter should govern 
them. Nothing was easier than for them, and possibly 
even for Barnabas, to argue that if Peter, in spite of 
the decision of the Conference, and in spite, too, of his 
own recent practice, should have seen cause to with 
draw from social intercourse with the Gentiles, so too 
should they. The idea of disobedience to the terms 
of the decision of the Congress may not have occurred 
to them, or they may have regarded this disobedience 
as justified by circumstances. 

But why is no appeal made to the decision, even by 
Paul himself ? Why did he not confront Peter with 
the irresistible argument of the action of the Synod in 
which he had lately borne so eminent a part ? Simply 
because he wields a still more potent contention. 
What was the determination of the Congress compared 
with Peter s own convictions and principles ? It was 
to these and not merely to the decision of the Congress 
that Peter was disloyal. 

Those scholars who hold that the decision of the 
Congress did not permit Jewish Christians to disregard 


the Law, are accustomed to cite this incident at 
Antioch as a decisive proof of their view. How, they 
ask, could the delegates from James have succeeded in 
persuading Peter to renounce social intercourse with 
the Gentiles except on the ground that such inter 
course was not contemplated, but rather excluded by 
the findings of the Conference ? But this opinion, 
however specious, labours under greater difficulties 
than the opinion which it assails. Were not Paul 
and Barnabas Jewish Christians ? Was it intended 
that they should adhere rigidly to the Law, and so 
abstain from social and even religious intercourse with 
their Gentile fellow- Christians ? Would Paul and 
Barnabas have accepted such an arrangement ? 
Would such an arrangement have been welcomed 
with joy by the Church at Antioch ? Again, is it not 
clear from the account of Paul (Gal 2) that Peter on 
arriving at Antioch found Paul and Barnabas and 
their Jewish brethren eating freely with their Gentile 
brothers ? Did, then, all the Jewish Christians at 
Antioch as well as Paul and Barnabas misconceive 
the purpose or disobey the terms of the decision ? 
Further, Peter, when just arrived from Jerusalem, 
acted as Paul and Barnabas did. Is it conceivable 
that he instantly violated a statute which he had just 
been engaged in passing ? 

Again, it has been held that the incident at Antioch 
can be explained only on the assumption that the 
decision of the Conference merely allowed such inter 
course between Jews and Gentiles as was permitted 


by the Jews between themselves and those adherents 
of the faith known as the fearers of God (Wendt, 
Apostelgeschichte, 335). These were allowed to enter 
the Synagogue and take part in the worship ; but the 
privilege of sitting down at table with the Jews was 
not conceded to them. The Congress of Jerusalem 
imposed the same restrictions on intercourse between 
Jews and Gentiles within the Church as the Synagogue 
imposed on intercourse between the Jews themselves 
and the men of foreign birth who attached themselves 
to the Jewish faith. The strict legalists who came 
from James did not reject the claims of the Gentiles 
to be full members of the community, or decline 
religious fellowship with them. They simply refused 
to sit with them at table, on the ground that such 
conduct would have been a violation of their duty 
towards the Law. Paul, it is said, does not condemn 
the delegates from James, but simply condemns Peter. 
But there is no evidence that the four restrictions 
enacted by the council governed the intercourse in 
the Synagogue between the Jews and those foreigners 
who adhered to the Jewish religion without becoming 
proselytes. It would seem that no definite require 
ments were exacted, the relation between them and 
the Jews having many degrees of closeness. At any 
rate, the specific rules to which they conformed, if they 
existed at all, have not come down to us. Nor is 
there any likelihood in the suggestion that the 
Christian Church, in order to determine the relations 
between Jews and Gentiles in Christ, borrowed the 


regulations of the Synagogue. As has been shown 
already, such a view is incompatible with the language 
of James in proposing the four restrictions. Nor is it 
credible that the leaders of the Church, and more 
particularly Paul, would have recognised it to be the 
duty of Jewish Christians to persevere under all 
circumstances in their allegiance to the Law. Paul 
himself was a Jewish Christian, and regarded himself 
as bound by the decision of the Convention. On this 
interpretation of its decision it would have been his 
duty, on his return to Antioch, to set up two in 
dependent Christian congregations, for the intercourse 
involved in the Love Feast and the Lord s Supper was 
defiling in the eyes of a strict Jew. It is unreason 
able to hold that James, Peter, John, and Paul did 
not foresee that an arrangement, whereby the Gentiles 
should have conceded to them only the same measure 
of fellowship as the Jews conceded to the Gentiles 
adhering to the Synagogue, was utterly impracticable 
and even self-contradictory. 

It is now time to examine the assertion that the 
narrative of the Conference at Jerusalem renders the 
incident at Antioch impossible. The dispute at 
Antioch is held to disprove the historical character of 
the decision, whether in the form of a regular decree 
or not. The decision made it possible for Jewish and 
Gentile Christians to associate with one another at 
meals. James, then, and his followers had no reason 
to take offence at Peter s eating with Gentile converts 
(Encyc. Bib. i. 924). 


This argument would be conclusive if men were 
always governed by logic. Undoubtedly the decision 
of the Congress, interpreted in the spirit in which it 
was made, sanctioned the line of action taken by Peter. 
It does not, however, follow that this consideration was 
plain to all, and that those who came from James 
must necessarily have admitted its force, particularly 
in the case of Peter. It was open to them to argue 
that the determination of the Congress did not apply 
to Peter or to themselves, who did not belong to the 
Church of Antioch but to the Church of Jerusalem. 
They may have contended that mere visitors like 
themselves should not follow a course that would 
create dispeace in the Church of Jerusalem, and 
certainly retard the extension of Christianity among 
the Jews. It was also possible for them to maintain 
that the intercourse implied by the decree did not 
extend to fellowship at table. Peter, it would seem, 
had not restricted his intercourse with the Gentiles 
to religious fellowship, including the Love Feast and 
the Lord s Supper. He seems to have gone further, 
and to have accepted social invitations from Gentiles. 
Again, the delegates from James might conceivably 
have set at nought the decision of the Congress. They 
might have condemned it as unwise, and refused to be 
bound by it. To infer from the incident at Antioch 
that the account of the Conference is untrustworthy, 
is consequently unreasonable. But the complete 
refutation of this opinion is found in the language of 
Paul himself. His description of Peter s conduct 


shows that Peter held the principle that Jews and 
Gentiles should associate at table. He charges Peter 
with being false to his own convictions. This charge 
would have had no meaning unless Peter had felt 
himself at liberty to mix freely at meals with his 
Gentile fellow-Christians. This implies that, so far 
as Peter himself was concerned, those who came from 
James could not reproach him with abandoning his 
convictions. Peter was urged to act against his 
conscience, and under the influence of fear actually 
did so. This demonstrates that Peter before the 
incident at Antioch had come to the conclusion that 
he was entitled to hold social intercourse with Gentile 
Christians. It is a great though common error on 
the part of many writers to fix their attention solely 
on the demand made by those who came from James, 
and to argue that that demand must have represented 
the convictions of James and even the convictions of 
Peter. The slightest attention to the language of 
Paul shows what Peter s convictions really were, and 
there is no reason for believing that the convictions 
of James were other than the convictions of Peter. 
No conclusion, therefore, adverse to the historical 
character of the Congress of Jerusalem can be drawn 
from the dispute at Antioch. 



next mention of James is associated with 
Paul s last visit to Jerusalem, which took place 
at the Pentecost of 58 (57). It was with a resolute 
though foreboding heart that Paul approached the 
city which he loved so deeply, but where he knew 
himself to be the object of relentless hate. He 
was carrying his life in his hands, and his arrest 
was imminent. A short time previously a plot had 
led him to alter his route to escape assassination, and 
but a few days before he had heard from the lips of 
the prophet Agabus at Csesarea the announcement 
of his arrest and imprisonment. Nor was he confident 
as to how he would be received by the Christian 
Church in the city. Peter, his closest friend among 
the Apostles, was apparently no longer there; and 
none of the Twelve, it would seem, was in the city 
at the time. James the brother of the Lord was still 
the head of the Christian community, and he could 
reckon on his sympathy and approval. But many 
who bore the Christian name regarded him with 
distrust; for their minds had been poisoned against 



him by calumny, and he was doubtful as to their 
attitude. He did not feel sure that even the generous 
gift that he had raised by such persistent efforts 
among his converts in Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia 
would be received in the spirit in which it was offered. 
But no shadow of doubt as to the wisdom of his course 
fell on his spirit ; for he realised that it was of the 
highest moment to the interests of Christianity that 
the Church of Jerusalem and the Gentile Churches 
should be /knit together by confidence and love, and 
it behoved him to do all he could to remove from 
the minds of the Christians of the metropolis any false 
opinions they held touching his own principles and 
conduct, or the sentiments and mode of life of his 
converts. Whether he and his fellow-travellers from 
Csesarea entered the city so as to shun observation 
as much as possible (Hort, Judaistic Christianity, 
106), cannot be determined. But the reception which 
he met with the first evening must have dissipated 
his fears at least for a time. The next day, accom 
panied by the delegates in charge of the contributions 
from the different Gentile Churches, he met with 
James and the elders of the Jerusalem Church. The 
interview was public and official. Paul had doubtless 
intimated to James his intention to present the 
collection, and to rehearse what he had done on his 
late journey ; and James in turn had summoned the 
elders to receive Paul and his fellow-deputies, and to 
hear the account of his labours. Nothing is said as 
to the feelings either of Paul or of James and the 


elders on the occasion. Hence there has been 
diversity of opinion respecting these. Yet the account 
of the Assembly in Acts is hardly susceptible of more 
than one interpretation. It has, indeed, been suggested 
that, according to the narrative of Acts, Paul had to 
plead his cause before the elders in Jerusalem just as 
at the Congress. But this is a caricature of Paul s 
position. He appears in the narrative as a Christian 
missionary whose labours had been crowned with 
extraordinary success, and whose efforts could not but 
obtain the praise and gratitude of all Christians. Nor 
is there the slightest reason for holding that the 
meeting was lacking in cordiality and warmth. The 
personal friendship between the two leaders may be 
accepted as a proof of the sentiments actuating their 
followers. Just as little plausible is the conjecture 
that some of the delegates, such as Timothy and 
Trophimus, gazed trembling on James and his fellow- 
elders, and began to doubt whether as Christians they 
really were emancipated from the Law of Moses. 
There is not a hint that any of the companions of 
Paul felt excessive timidity in the presence of James 
or the elders. Why should they have done so ? Was 
James to them a greater man than Paul ? Were they 
more influenced by his appearance or language or 
views than by Paul ? What was there in the bearing 
or speech of James or of the elders to strike awe into 
the beholder or the hearer ? There was dignity of 
speech and of manner, but the etiquette, the ceremonies, 
the display, the splendour, which are the common 


sources of emotion on such occasions, were altogether 
wanting. The nature of the reception extended to 
Paul and his fellow-missionaries is plainly indicated 
by the statement that James and the elders, after 
hearing Paul s account of his labours, glorified God. 
Doubtless the first act of Paul was to introduce the 
delegates from the different Churches, who would 
place at the feet of James and the elders the contri 
butions made with so much self-sacrifice towards the 
support of their poorer Christian brethren in Jerusalem 
and Judaea. This liberality was not only a sign of 
the gratitude felt by the Christian Churches for the 
mission of Paul, but also a proof of the /brotherhood 
existing between them and their Jewish fellow- 
believers. The narrative in Acts does not mention 
the presentation of the gift, and hence the conclusion 
has been drawn that it was received thanklessly and 
grudgingly. Such an inference from the silence of 
the writer is obviously illegitimate and inconsistent 
with the sentiments attributed to James and his 
fellow-elders. To argue that Luke would certainly 
have mentioned that the gift was gratefully received, 
had such been the case, is gratuitous ; for his silence on 
the whole subject seems to show that he did not regard 
the gift as of critical importance. He may even have 
shared Paul s view of its consequence, but have 
omitted to mention it, seeing it stood in no necessary 
relation to the Apostle s arrest and imprisonment, the 
topic with which as a historian he was engrossed. 
After the collection had been laid at the feet of James 


and the elders, Paul related the events which had 
marked his life during the last few years. The 
narrative was listened to with great interest, and 
excited much gratitude and praise. His hearers were 
men of quick Christian sympathies, and the story of 
the progress made by their faith caused their lips to 
overflow with thanksgiving to God. 

After the elders had conveyed to Paul the assur 
ance of the joy with which they had heard of former 
churches confirmed in the faith and new churches 
founded, the conversation turned on his presence in 
the capital. His arrival could not remain unknown. 
His fellow-Christians attended the Feast in thousands, 
and the news would soon pass from lip to lip that he 
was in the city. The intelligence would fill them 
with indignation and hatred, because they believed 
the calumnies propagated regarding him. A report 
was industriously and habitually spread among them 
that he taught the Jews throughout the world to 
revolt from Moses, to leave their children uncircum- 
cised, and to abandon their ancestral customs. 
(Kendall, Acts, in loc., holds that Jews and not Jewish 
Christians are here spoken of.) Accordingly they 
suggested that he should associate himself with four 
of his Jewish fellow-Christians who had taken upon 
themselves a Nazirite vow, and should bear the cost 
of the sacrifice they had to offer, and so enable them 
to complete their vow. The effect of such conduct 
would be that the charge made against him would 
be proved groundless, and it would be known to every- 


one that he kept the Law. The action suggested 
would not infringe in the least the principle that the 
Gentiles were emancipated from the Law of Moses, 
for this was already secured by the decision of the 
Conference. That decision stood in all its force, 
and the Gentiles had only to guard \ themselves 
from what was sacrificed to idols, from blood, from 
what was strangled, and from fornication. (Wendt, 
Apostelgesck., following Schlirer, regards this verse 
[Ac 2 1 25 ] as an interpolation; but his reasons are 

The views of the elders were probably stated by 
James. Their language proves how malignant was 
the hatred cherished towards Paul by his Jewish 
fellow-countrymen. Intense as was their scorn of 
Christianity, it was multiplied a thousandfold by the 
form which Christianity took in the teaching and life 
of Paul. Nor is it improbable that even Jewish- 
Christian lips had carelessly or of set purpose 
misrepresented his attitude and language towards the 
Jewish Law, for the hostility entertained towards him 
burned fiercely in the breasts of some who bore the 
Christian name. The accusation was false, but there 
was much in the convictions and conduct of Paul that 
gave it a semblance of truth. He did not preach 
circumcision. He mixed freely with Gentiles, and 
even ate at their tables ; and his example was followed 
by many Jews. Whether any of his adherents had 
gone the length of not circumcising their children is 
unknown, but many of them must have neglected 


traditional usages to an extent which in the eyes of 
a rigid Jew appeared as apostasy. 

The language of the elders bears witness to the 
wide diffusion of Christianity in the Holy Land. 
Even though not taken literally, it proves that a 
considerable body of converts to the Christian faith 
had by this time been made. The devotion of these 
converts to the Law is not surprising : its absence 
would rather have been a cause for astonishment. 
Living as they did in the Holy Land, they were 
naturally zealous for the Law which they had inherited, 
and their conversion did not lessen their attachment 
to it as of divine origin. They doubtless regarded 
it as binding on all Jews, Christians included. But 
that they held its observance to be a condition of 
salvation is not stated, and must not be taken for 
granted. On the contrary, there is every reason to 
believe that the majority even of Jewish Christians, 
however high the veneration which they cherished for 
the Law, did not in any sense treat obedience to it as 
a means of salvation. 

The proposal made to Paul was one the fulfil 
ment of which was regarded with peculiar favour by 
the Jews. No higher proof, whether of piety or of 
beneficence could be given than to charge oneself with 
the cost of the sacrifices which had to be made by a 
Nazirite before his head could be shaved and absolu 
tion from his vow obtained. Accordingly, such action 
on the part of Paul would be unmistakable evidence 
of his attachment to the Law and of his liberality 


towards his poorer fellow-countrymen and fellow- 
Christians. The suggestion was at once accepted 
and immediately carried out. Seven days had to 
elapse until the four Christians whose obligations he 
had assumed could be released from their vow. 
Whether he had to spend these days along with them 
in one of the chambers of the Temple is not clear, but, 
at any rate, on one of these days, possibly the fifth 
(Lewin), he was in the Temple in the Court of the 
Women, when some Jews of Ephesus recognising him, 
charged him falsely with polluting the Temple by 
bringing Greeks into it. A tumult arose, and his life 
would have been sacrificed had not the Eoman soldiers 
in the Tower of Antonia rescued him from the 

What view is to be taken of the counsel given by 
the elders ? Does it imply that they distrusted 
Paul ? Is it virtually an admonition ? Would James 
himself never have given it ? Must he be regarded 
simply as acquiescing in it, but as preferring that it 
had never been made ? There is nothing in what is 
related of the elders to show that they themselves 
entertained any suspicion as to Paul s attitude towards 
the Law. And it is hardly probable that in view of 
their past knowledge of him they could have done so. 
James could not have failed to inform them of his 
real sentiments and aims. Nor is it at all likely that 
within the circle of the eldership in Jerusalem there 
were men whose conception of Christianity differed 
essentially from that of Paul or James. Had any 


such been among the elders, they would hardly have 
been satisfied with the demand actually made. The 
Jewish-Christian party, in the strict sense of that 
term, contended that every Gentile should be circum 
cised. Their gravest charge against Paul was that he 
did not insist on the observance of the Jewish Law. 
Nor can it be believed that James took a different 
view of the suggestion made to Paul from that taken 
by the elders. It is true that the advice is given in 
the name of the Assembly and not in James own 
name. But this does not prove that the advice was 
unpalatable to James, or that he himself would not 
have given it. He was probably the spokesman of 
the elders, and it is impossible to hold that he did not 
express his own sentiments quite as much as those of 
others. Coming from himself the advice would have 
been weighty, but it was rendered still more weighty 
as the counsel of all the rulers of the Church. 

But was the advice worthy of James ? Was it 
such as became him to give and Paul to follow ? It 
has been said (Farrar, St. Paul) that the suggestion 
made was humiliating to Paul, and the Apostle has 
been described as associating for seven days in a 
chamber of the Temple with four paupers, and as 
standing among them while burnt-offerings, sin-offer 
ings, peace-offerings, and wave-offerings were being 
made in which his heart had no place. But there 
was no humiliation to a Jew in the observance of 
such ritual acts, and the obligations undertaken by 
Paul were of the most honourable kind. If, then, there 


was humiliation at all, it must lie in the advice itself. 
Was it unbecoming on the part of James to make 
such a request to Paul ? Should he rather have 
thanked him for his eminent services to the cause of 
Christ, informed him of the deadly peril to which he 
was exposed, and urged him to quit the city 
immediately ? What had occurred to lead James to 
give, or Paul to receive, such advice ? Had not Paul 
come up deliberately to Jerusalem with the fullest 
knowledge of the danger he ran ? Was it not 
evidently his intention to remain for some time in 
the city ? Did he not mean to mix freely with the 
Christians there? If his presence in the city was 
necessary to the accomplishment of his purpose, how 
could he remain concealed ? Moreover, the suggestion 
made by James and the elders was at once wise and 
expedient. The end contemplated was of the highest 
importance and urgency : the union of the two great 
branches of the Church, the Gentile and the Jewish. 
Nothing was more desirable than that Jewish Christians 
should understand and admire the character and 
labours of Paul. The falsehood of the charges brought 
against him could best be shown by a decisive act, 
and the acceptance of the obligation suggested would 
clearly prove that he was no apostate animated by 
hostility to the Temple and to Moses, but a man who 
cherished reverence for the great lawgiver and the 
customs he had enjoined. 

It is argued, however, that James could not 
honestly have proposed and Paul honestly acceded 


to the suggested arrangement. James knew well 
that Paul did not keep the Law, and Paul could 
not have been guilty of the hypocrisy of pretending 
to keep it. But this objection proceeds on an 
erroneous view of the advice given to Paul. James 
did not ask Paul to prove that he habitually observed 
the Law. He was perfectly aware that Paul was 
not in the habit of doing so among the Gentiles, for 
it would have been impossible for Paul to act as a 
missionary to the Gentiles and yet obey the Law. 
It must also have been obvious to him that a single 
act of conformity was no evidence of a man s usual 
conduct. What he desired was that Paul should 
prove by a decisive instance that the accusation 
brought against him of disloyalty towards the Law 
or repudiation of its obligations was calumnious. To 
defray the charges of certain Nazirites was a crucial 
illustration of his veneration for the Law, and there 
fore of the baselessness of the allegation that he 
taught the Jews to apostatize from it. Without the 
greatest inconsistency and hypocrisy he could not 
have associated himself with men under a Nazirite 
vow and at the same time have taught the Jews of 
the Dispersion to give up circumcising their children 
and observing the Mosaic rites. The language of 
James, it is true indeed, admits not only of this, 
but of an opposite interpretation. This interpretation, 
however, is not only required by the context, but by 
all that is known alike of Paul and of James. What 
Paul then was asked to do was to indicate in an 


unmistakable manner his sympathy with and rever 
ence for the Law of Moses, and this he could not for 
a moment hesitate to do. He was a Jew, and never 
ceased to think, feel, and act as a Jew. He no 
longer believed that the Law could justify, and 
nothing would persuade him that it could accomplish 
this end. Accordingly he felt at liberty to depart 
from its precepts in fulfilling his duty of evangelizing 
the world ; associated freely with Gentiles, and 
accepted their hospitality without question. But 
there is no evidence that he abandoned all Jewish 
customs, or that when among the Jews he did not live 
with the same strictness as they. His antagonism 
to the Law was only in so far as it was made a 
condition of salvation. To Jewish usages in them 
selves he had no objection, and he gladly conformed 
to them when occasion arose. He could properly 
speak of the curse of the Law, and pronounce the 
gospel of the Judaizers no gospel, and even rebuke 
Peter for following Jewish practices, because the ques 
tion raised on these occasions was one of principle. 
But at the same time he frequented the synagogue, he 
attended the Jewish feasts, he circumcised Timothy, 
and he probably himself took a Jewish vow at Cen- 
chrea3. Accordingly, the counsel was one which James 
could suitably give and Paul suitably follow. 

Granting all this, however, may it not be said 
that for Paul to comply with the request of James 
was to expose himself to the charge of abandoning his 
principles as the Apostle of the Gentiles ? Did he 


not lay himself the more open to accusations from the 
Judaizers whom he had stigmatized as false brethren/ 
false apostles, dogs, and the concision. It must 
be allowed that Paul s act could be so misunderstood. 
But this construction would be put upon it only by 
his enemies, not by his friends or by impartial judges. 
No candid mind could possibly misconceive his 
motives. A false statement as to his teaching had 
been industriously disseminated. He was represented 
as a habitual apostate from the Law, and as persuading 
others to be apostates. Such a calumny could be 
best disproved by a public act of conformity to a 
usage peculiarly Jewish ; and the wisdom of the 
Apostle taught him that the suggestion made by 
James was eminently judicious. He knew that the 
charge made against him was false both in the letter 
and in the spirit. From irreverence towards Moses, 
from disloyalty towards his ordinances, he felt himself 
absolutely free. He could with as clear a conscience 
as the strictest Jew associate himself with his fellow- 
Christians who had taken the Nazirite vow. There 
was nothing in his principles, nothing in his life, 
that rendered the suggestion of James and the elders 
in any way offensive to him. Instead of looking 
with aversion or disfavour on the duty proposed, he 
regarded it with a friendly eye. To take part in the 
rites and ceremonies prescribed was to him no painful, 
but rather a joyful experience. 

These observations prove that the censure re 
peatedly passed on the action of James and Paul on 


this occasion is altogether baseless. Both of them 
have been charged with deferring too much to Jewish 
superstition, and with virtually taking part in acting 
a lie. Such accusations betray grave intellectual 
and not less grave moral incapacity. It is true that 
the argument in question is intended to discredit the 
narrative, and to prove it altogether untrustworthy. 
But if the narrative be trustworthy, what then ? 

This incident is commonly described as the crown 
ing proof of .James devotion to the Mosaic Law. It 
is regarded as the evidence of an attachment to that 
Law altogether surpassing that exhibited by Peter 
or John. But what is spoken of is not the zeal of 
James for the Law o Moses, but the zeal of the 
Jewish Christians. They undoubtedly were hostile to 
any movement that seemed to abrogate the Law. 
Its usages they conceived to be binding, although 
they could hardly, as intelligent Christians, have 
regarded the obligation as moral. It is quite possible 
also that James shared the view that Jewish Christians 
should continue to observe the Law, and that he 
statedly acted on this conviction. But it does not 
follow that he was in any sense a legalist, that is, a 
person attaching a special or excessive value to the 
fulfilment of the ritual and ceremonial prescriptions 
of the Mosaic Law. To attribute zeal of this kind 
to James, is to believe that he possessed a most 
limited insight into the spiritual nature of Christianity 
as the true fulfilment of Judaism. But his Epistle, 
his speech at the Synod, and the testimony of Paul 


(Gal 2), establish beyond dispute how clear and 
profound was his knowledge of the essence of Chris 
tianity, and how completely he realized that the 
salvation it offered was independent of all ritual or 
ceremonial observances. That the author of the 
Epistle of James and of the speech at the Synod 
could have been a zealous upholder of the Law, in 
the sense in which the Pharisees or even the ordinary 
Jews were such, may be pronounced impossible. At 
most, then, James can but have faithfully complied 
with the precepts of the Law as usually observed. 
But that he attached a moral significance to their 
observance or zealously promoted it cannot be 
admitted. At any rate, the conclusion that he did 
so is not to be drawn from the incident before us, 
and can hardly be reconciled with the tone and 
contents of his Epistle and his speech. 

The true nature of the relations between James and 
Paul appears from this interview between them. They 
had met several times, and were therefore conversant 
with one another s characters and convictions. James 
would never have ventured to ask Paul to co-operate 
in a Nazirite vow, had he supposed that such conduct 
was in the slightest degree inconsistent with his 
principles. For it may be taken for granted that no 
man, and much less James, could have possessed any 
degree of intimacy with Paul without recognising that 
he was stable as a rock in all cases where principle 
was in question. James, then, must have been aware 
that Paul did not teach that the Jews were emanci- 


pated from the Law in the sense that it was incumbent 
upon them to discontinue the practice of circumcision, 
the observance of the Sabbath and of the great 
festivals, and their other characteristic usages ; but 
that, on the contrary, he himself was still, as far as 
consistent with his vocation as an Apostle of the 
Gentiles, a Jew in spirit and in conduct. There was 
no schism between Paul s intellect and his heart. 
Love did not prevail over wisdom. The obligation 
he fulfilled was no act distasteful and repellent, 
characterized by mental reservations or qualifications, 
and still less a repudiation of his principles and his 
past history, but a step taken with a clear conscience 
and in a cheerful and grateful temper. 

What now was the effect of Paul s compliance ? Did 
it fail to accomplish its end (McGiffert, Apos. Age, 343)? 
The historian, as so often, does not describe the issue, 
but leaves it to be inferred. Accordingly, there are 
those who pronounce the action of James and Paul as 
unwise because it did not Achieve the result intended. 
But that Paul was arrested and imprisoned is no 
indication that what James and he sought to 
accomplish remained unfulfilled. It is quite possible 
that he gained the confidence of not a few of his 
Jewish fellow-Christians by his action. There is 
certainly no evidence to show that the opposite was 
the case. Besides, the wisdom of an act is not always 
to be judged by its immediate effects, and who can 
tell what the final issue of the step taken by Paul in 
compliance with the suggestion of James proved to be ? 


A DESCEIPTION by Hegesippus of the mode of 
"- life followed by James, and of his death, has 
been preserved to us by Eusebius (H. E. ii. 23). It 
is as follows (McGiffert s translation) : 

" James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the 
government of the Church in conjunction with the 
Apostles. He has been called the Just by all from 
the time of our Saviour to the present day ; for there 
were many that bore the name of James. He was 
holy from his mother s womb ; and he drank no wine 
or strong drink, nor did he eat flesh. No razor came 
upon his head ; he did not anoint himself with oil, 
and he did not use the bath. He alone was permitted 
to enter into the Holy Place ; for he wore not woollen, 
but linen garments. And he was in the habit of 
entering alone into the Temple, and was frequently 
found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the 
people, so that his knees became hard like those of a 
camel, in consequence of his constantly bending them 
in the worship of God, and asking forgiveness for the 
people. Because of his exceeding great justice he was 
called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek 



1 Bulwark of the people and Justice/ in accordance 
with what the prophets declare concerning him. Now 
some of the seven sects which existed among the 
people, and which have been mentioned by me in the 
Memoirs, asked him, What is the gate of Jesus ? and 
he replied that He was the Saviour. On account of 
these words some believed that Jesus is the Christ. 
But the sects mentioned above did not believe either 
in a resurrection or in one s coming to give to every 
man according to his works. But as many as believed 
did so on account of James. Therefore, when many 
even of the rulers believed, there was a commotion 
among the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees, who said 
that there was danger that the whole people would be 
looking for Jesus as the Christ. Coming, therefore, in 
a body to James they said, We entreat thee, restrain 
the people ; for they are gone astray in regard to 
Jesus, as if He were the Christ. We entreat thee to 
persuade all that have come to the Feast of the Pass 
over concerning Jesus ; for we all have confidence in 
thee. For we bear thee witness as do all the people, 
that thou art just, and dost not respect persons. Do 
thou therefore persuade the multitude not to be led 
astray concerning Jesus. For the whole people, and 
all of us also, have confidence in thee. Stand, there 
fore, on the pinnacle of the Temple, that from that 
high position thou mayest be clearly seen, and that 
thy words may be readily heard by all the people. 
For all the Tribes, with the Gentiles also, are come 
together on account of the Passover. The aforesaid 


Scribes and Pharisees therefore placed James upon 
the pinnacle of the Temple, and cried out to him and 
said : Thou just one, in whom we ought all to have 
confidence, forasmuch as the people are led astray 
after Jesus, the crucified one, declare to us what is 
the gate of Jesus. And he answered with a loud 
voice, Why do ye ask me concerning Jesus the Son 
of Man ? He Himself sitteth in heaven at the right 
hand of the great power, and is about to come upon 
the clouds of heaven. And when many were fully 
convinced and glorified in the testimony of James, 
and said, Hosanna to the Son of David, these same 
Scribes and Pharisees said again to one another, We 
have done badly in applying such testimony to Jesus. 
But let us go up and throw him down, in order that 
they may be afraid to believe him. And they cried 
out, saying, Oh ! oh ! the just man is also in error. 
And they fulfilled the Scripture written in Isaiah, 
Let us take away the just man, because he is trouble 
some to us : therefore they shall eat the fruit of their 
doings. So they went up and threw down the just 
man, and said to each other, Let us stone James the 
Just. And they began to stone him, for he was not 
killed by the fall ; but he turned and knelt down and 
said, I entreat thee, Lord God our Father, forgive 
them ; for they know not what they do. And while 
they were thus stoning him, one of the priests of the 
sons of Kechab the son of the Eechabites, who are 
mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet, cried out, saying, 
Cease, what do ye ? The just one prayeth for you. 


And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club 
with which he beat out clothes and struck the just 
man on the head. And thus he suffered martyrdom. 
And they buried him on the spot by the Temple, and 
his monument still remains by the Temple. He be 
came a true witness, both to Jews and Greeks, that 
Jesus is the Christ. And immediately Vespasian 
besieged them." 

To determine the value attaching to this narrative 
is of the greatest importance. The testimony has 
generally been accepted, and the common representa 
tion of James as a man of rigid and ascetic piety rests 
upon it and on the additions made by Epiphanius 
when incorporating it in his Panarion. 

What inference should be drawn from the fact that 
this description of James has in a sense become the 
common possession of the Church ? Is it to be taken 
as fresh evidence of the uncritical and even credulous 
temper existing in Christian circles, or is it to be 
regarded as proof that there is no real contradiction 
between the portrait drawn in the New Testament 
and that drawn by Hegesippus ? Neither of these 
deductions is altogether valid. The alleged temper 
and its opposite belong not to one body of men or to 
one age, but to all men at all times. Both tempers 
coexist, though now the one and now the other gains 
the ascendency in particular spheres of thought and 
action. If there has been much credulity exhibited 
within the Church, there has also been exhibited 
excessive scepticism. Nor is it the case that the 


James of Hegesippus and the James of the New 
Testament are two likenesses of the same person, for 
the divergence between them is too great to allow of 
their being pronounced copies of the same original. 
Hence arises the necessity of testing carefully the 
account of Hegesippus. 

But how is this examination to be conducted ? Is 
it legitimate to select from the narrative the portions 
which appear credible and to set them down as 
established ? Is it permissible to separate them into 
groups such as genuinely Christian/ c universally 
Israelitish/ Nazirite, Essene/ and priestly/ and 
to accept at once some of these as trustworthy 
because no objection can be raised against the possi 
bility of their being true ? May it be taken for 
granted without discussion that James was continually 
occupied interceding for the forgiveness of Israel 
because a prayer of this kind would be natural and 
appropriate on his lips? (Lechler, AT, L 60). To 
proceed in this manner is plainly wrong, because it is 
to confound the possible and the probable with the 
actual and the certain. The account, provided its 
texture is uniform, must be accepted or rejected as 
a whole. 

The weightiest objection to the narrative is its 
incompatibility with what is related concerning James 
in the New Testament. As this incompatibility is 
not commonly recognized or admitted, it is necessary 
to indicate some of the inconsistent features. The 
James of Hegesippus is an ascetic, probably a Nazirite, 


perhaps even an Essene. No Nazirite or Essene 
practices are attributed to the James of the New 
Testament. An Essene or even a Nazirite, as has 
been already shown, he could not have been. Nor 
could he have been the James delineated by Hege- 
sippus. Who can believe that the James of the Acts 
and of the Galatians and of the Epistle professing to 
be his, the brother of Jesus, the friend of Peter and 
of John, of Paul too and Barnabas, who was convinced 
that the Gentiles were exempt from the Mosaic Law, 
and who proposed the terms on which Jews and 
Gentiles in mixed Churches should meet together for 
common worship, terms which involved the partial 
abandonment of the Law by Jewish Christians, who 
was almost certainly married, who performed the 
many and laborious duties connected with his high 
position in the Church of Jerusalem, was at the same 
time a severe ascetic and formalist, refusing to drink 
wine, or eat flesh, or use oil, wearing linen garments 
only, and found continually on his knees in the 
Temple? Was this the type of piety which com 
manded reverence in the Church of Jerusalem, a type 
alien to the spirit and example of Jesus, and not less 
alien to the convictions and habits of the Jews ? 
Was such a man likely to have been called to preside 
over the Church in the capital ? Was such a man 
likely to commend Christianity to his fellow-citizens 
and fellow-countrymen ? Is the popularity amono- 
his Jewish fellow-countrymen so generally ascribed 
to him, a popularity based on his zeal for the law, 


consistent with habits some of which were hostile to 
the Law ? Without hesitation it may be said that 
the James of Hegesippus could never have acted as 
the president of the Church of Jerusalem. 

A close and detailed examination of the narrative 
of Hegesippus confirms this result. James is repre 
sented apparently as a Nazirite ; but, as has been 
shown, there is no evidence from Scripture to prove 
that he was such. On the contrary, any evidence 
which exists points unmistakably in a contrary 
direction. It has indeed been contended (Lechler, 
AT, i. 64) that the advice given by James to Paul 
when he went up to Jerusalem for the last time, 
implies that James had taken upon himself Nazirite 
obligations. But this conclusion will commend itself 
to no one. It is further stated that James did not 
eat flesh. This assertion cannot be true if he 
conformed to the ordinary standard of Jewish 
orthodoxy, for every loyal Jew partook of the Paschal 
lamb. Again, it is said that he alone was permitted 
to enter the Holy Place. Whether by this is meant 
the Holy Place or the Holy of Holies is not clear. 
But under any circumstances the privilege assigned 
to him is wholly at variance with Jewish legislation, 
for the high priest alone was permitted to enter the 
Holy of Holies, and the priests alone to enter the 
outer sanctuary. The assertion that he wore linen 
garments only is not more credible, for it is evidently 
intended to place him on an equality with the priest 
hood or even above it, as the priests were bound to 


wear such garments only when exercising their sacred 
functions. The statement that he was in the habit 
of entering alone into the Temple, if that term is to 
be understood in its widest sense, is inconsistent with 
the fact that its doors stood open throughout the 
day, and that it was constantly visited by worshippers. 
If, on the other hand, it refers to the Holy Place, it 
assumes that James was of priestly descent, or that a 
unique privilege was conceded to him, suppositions 
which are baseless. The writer was evidently 
ignorant of the structure of the Temple and of its 
modes of worship. It is further related that James 
was called by the designations Oblias and Justice, 
in accordance with what the prophets declared 
concerning him. The passage is obscure and probably 
imperfect, but its statements seem purely imaginary. 
No prophecies relating to James are contained in 
Scripture, and the most ingenious scholars have found 
it difficult to specify any that may be applied to him. 
The titles Bulwark of the people and Justice or 
Eighteousness doubtless represent two Aramaic or 
Hebrew words. But were such designations likely to 
have been given to James by Christians ? Again, 
the seven sects are spoken of, and these are said to 
have believed neither in a resurrection nor in a future 
judgment. Yet this assertion is obviously erroneous. 
The Pharisees unquestionably believed in a resurrec 
tion and in a judgment, and the only sect known to 
have rejected these truths is that of the Sadducees. 
Again, the writer speaks of the Jews and Scribes and 


Pharisees. What is the import of this phrase ? The 
Scribes and Pharisees were certainly Jews. In what 
sense were the Jews opposed to them ? The explana 
tion which at once occurs, namely, that the Jews are 
the great body of the people as opposed to the Scribes 
and Pharisees their leaders, cannot be adopted because 
of the context, where the people as such are opposed 
to the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees. It is there 
fore evident that the writer had no clear conception 
of the different elements constituting the Jewish 
people. Again, the request addressed to James by 
the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees is incredible. 
He is asked to restrain the people because they had 
come to believe that Jesus was the Christ. It is 
inconceivable that such an appeal should have been 
made by the leaders of the Jews to the leader of the 
Christians. The Jewish authorities knew perfectly 
what the views of James were, and to suppose that 
they could, with that knowledge, confess their confi 
dence in him and ask him to declare to them the gate 
of Jesus, that is probably whether the teaching of Jesus 
was or was not false, is out of the question. The utter 
absurdity of this proceeding is made more plain by the 
circumstance that James has already been represented 
as having proclaimed Jesus to be the f Saviour, and as 
having induced a number of Jews to accept Him as 
the Christ. The narrative is here an inexplicable 

Equal incredibility attaches to the account of his 
death. The placing him on the pinnacle of the 


Temple is evidently a fiction derived from our Lord s 
temptation. The proposal made by the Scribes and 
Pharisees to go up and throw him down and then 
stone him is also purely imaginary. The words put 
in the lips of James are simply copied from our Lord s 
words on the Cross (Lk 23 24 ). The intervention of 
one of the priests of the sons of Eechab is a feature 
of which no satisfactory account has been given, and 
which perhaps can be best explained by confusion of 
thought on the part of the writer. 

Other objections might be mentioned, such as fresh 
inconsistencies and the obvious imitation of passages 
of Scripture. But those just stated are sufficient 
to show how utterly untrustworthy is the whole 

This conclusion is confirmed by the view generally 
entertained regarding the source from which Hege- 
sippus derived his information. The opinion is now 
common among scholars that one of his authorities, 
possibly his principal authority, was the Ascents of 
James. This work is known through a description of 
it by Epiphanius (Pan. 30. 16, 25), though doubt has 
been expressed whether that Father had ever seen the 
book (Hort, Judaistic Christianity, 152). But the 
title he mentions and his statements representing its 
contents render it highly probable that a portion of 
the First Book of the Clementine Recognitions (55. 71. 
73) was taken from it. It is there said that a certain 
enemy, after James had persuaded the high priest and 
the people to receive baptism, raised a tumult and 


attacked him, and threw him down headlong from the 
steps of the Temple, and believed that he had 
perished. Three days later, the Apostles received 
secret information from Gamaliel that his enemy had 
been sent by Caiaphas to Damascus to persecute and 
destroy the Churches, and more especially to take 
Peter, who was supposed to have fled thither. The 
passage in the Recognitions has apparently been 
softened ; for the work, as read by Epiphanius, 
described Paul as a Greek born in Tarsus, who fell in 
love with the daughter of the high priest and accepted 
circumcision in order to obtain her hand, but failing 
to do so wrote against circumcision and the Sabbath 
and the Law. The coincidences between this portion 
of the Eecognitions and the account of James in 
Hegesippus are striking, and suggest at once that the 
Ascents of James is the common source of both 
writings. It has been conjectured with much 
likelihood that the narrative of Hegesippus formed 
the close of the work, the earlier portions of which 
are preserved in the Eecognitions (Lightfoot, Galatians). 
The title of the book is probably taken from the Stairs 
of the Temple which James ascended to address the 
people. Whether Hegesippus had this book in his 
hands or only borrowed from it indirectly must remain 
undetermined. The Ascents were evidently an 
Ebionite fabrication in which the character of Paul 
was drawn in the darkest colours, and assertions made 
concerning the events of his life utterly opposed to 
known facts. Hence any extracts from it are 


destitute of value. If, then, the Ascents formed the 
sole or principal authority on which Hegesippus 
depended, no reliance can be put upon his description 
as historically true. But are the Ascents his sole 
authority ? The question is not easily answered, and 
perhaps cannot be satisfactorily answered. It is 
improper to take for granted without examination 
that the Ascents were his only source of information, 
for he may have had access to other sources. At the 
same time, the latter alternative seems excluded by 
the uniform tenor and substance of the narrative of 
Hegesippus, which appears to proceed from a single 
pen. It is hard to believe that so many erroneous 
assertions could have been made by different writers 
and then combined into a whole by Hegesippus. It 
is much more probable that he simply related what 
he found in a single authority. 

That Hegesippus held the account he gives of 
James to be true, and that he found no difficulty in 
accepting it, must be admitted. This is certainly an 
argument in favour of its authenticity ; but, on the 
other hand, it is negatived and destroyed by the 
character of the statements he makes, which have 
been shown to be incredible. There is no cause for 
surprise that Hegesippus should accept apocryphal 
stories regarding James, for such statements are 
freely accepted by writers of far higher distinction. 

Such is the account of the death of James given 
by Hegesippus. It is, as we have seen, largely if 
not wholly legendary, and must therefore be rejected. 


How stands the case with the second account, that 
of Josephus ? The narrative of the historian is 
in substance as follows : Antiq. XX. ix. 1 : The 
younger Annas or Hannan had just been raised 
by Herod Agrippa to the high priesthood. Festus 
the procurator was dead. Albinus his successor 
had not yet arrived. Herod Agrippa was absent, 
probably with the army of Corbulo. Annas was 
a Sadducee, and a man of bold and cruel temper. 
He seems to have cherished a hereditary hatred 
towards the Christians, and he saw at once that an 
excellent opportunity of taking vengeance on the 
abhorred sect was open to him. Accordingly, he 
resolved to strike down their most prominent leader, 
together with a number of his followers. He con 
vened a meeting of the Sanhedrin, and had James and 
some others condemned for transgressing the Law, and 
ordered to be stoned. The historian evidently implies 
that James and his fellow- Christians perished by this 
sentence. In the course of his narrative Josephus 
speaks of James as " the brother of Jesus the so-called 
Christ, James by name." Not a few writers (including 
even Zahn, Einleitung, i. 76; Forsch. vi. 301) are of 
opinion that these words are an interpolation. But the 
passage bears the imprint of genuineness. No Chris 
tian would have spoken of the so-called Christ. Nor 
would he have related the execution of James in such 
cold passionless language. If Josephus were to refer to 
the death of James at all, he could hardly have spoken 
otherwise. Further, the difference of tone regarding 


James between the present passage and that commonly 
regarded as spurious quoted by Eusebius (HE, ii. 23), 
furnishes additional evidence of its originality. There 
is, then, no reason for regarding the words referred 
to as added to the original text, and the entire 
narrative may be accepted as authentic. Being the 
witness of a contemporary and in a sense even of an 
enemy, it is raised beyond all suspicion. 

The charge made by the high priest against James 
is described by the general term breach or trans 
gression of the Law. But how, it may be asked, 
could such an accusation be made against one whose 
highest distinction was his observance of the Law ? 
How could the high priest persuade the Sanhedrin to 
condemn a man for violation of the Law who was pre 
eminent for his observance of its precepts? Why, 
above all, did the reputation of James not protect 
him with the Pharisees ? Did they refuse to join in 
his condemnation ? This can hardly be believed, 
because the session of the court at which James 
was condemned must have been formal. There 
is no reason to hold that the verdict did not represent 
the deliberate judgment of the whole body. This 
being so, it is plain that the Christians were an object 
of aversion, not to say hatred, alike to the Pharisees 
and Sadducees. Their belief in the Messiahship 
of Jesus, the worship they offered Him, the assertion 
that He was about to return in judgment, made them 
detested by both sects. Doubtless, too, their dis 
approval of resistance to the Koman arms would tend 


still further to estrange the Pharisees from them, 
while their affirmation that Jesus had risen from the 
dead must have been a constant grievance to the 
Sadducees. It would not, then, be difficult for so 
astute and daring a man as Annas to procure from 
the Sanhedrin the condemnation of James and of 
other Christians. The indictment against them was 
probably that of blasphemy. Nothing was easier 
than to show that the language of the Nazarenes 
regarding Jesus and the worship they offered Him as 
the Son of God amounted to this crime. James the 
Christian was never lost in the Jew, and he may have 
given Annas occasion for action by his vigorous 
defence of the Messianic claims of Jesus, and by his 
condemnation of every mode of life other than the 
Christians. The Sanhedrin, aware that the sect of 
the Nazarenes cherished convictions and ideals quite 
at variance with their own, would not hesitate at the 
instigation of Annas to condemn James and his 
fellow-Christians to death. They were sentenced to 
be stoned, and this fact confirms the view that blas 
phemy was the charge brought against them. It is 
not stated where the sentence was accomplished, but 
James, like Stephen, was probably put to death 
outside the city. 

The conduct of Annas was disapproved of by a 
moderate party among the citizens of Jerusalem, and 
complaint was made both to Albinus and Herod 
Agrippa, with the result that the king removed him 
from office after only a three months tenure. It 


has often been held that this intervention was due 
to sympathy with James and admiration tor his 
sanctity. But it is doubtful whether this inference, 
so grateful to the Christian, is valid. There is no 
trace in the language of the complainers that they 
were moved by any regard for James and his fellow- 
victims. They did not even affirm that the Christians 
suffered unjustly. Their complaint related solely to 
the illegal step taken by Annas of executing a capital 
sentence which was not confirmed by the procurator. 
What was the year in which James was executed ? 
The statement of Josephus on the subject points 
conclusively to the year 62. 1 The condemnation and 
sentence took place in the interval between the 
death of Festus and the entrance on office of his 
successor Albinus. Now Albinus was in Jerusalem 
at the Feast of Tabernacles in 62 (Josephus, BJ, vi. 
v. 3). Whether he had only then begun his adminis 
tration is not clear : he may already have been a 
short time in office. But that the interval between 
his assumption of power and the Feast of Tabernacles 
was brief, is evident from the circumstance that the 
news of his appointment as successor to Festus only 
reached Jerusalem at the Passover in April (Josephus, 
Antiquities, xx. ix. 1). If James was put to death, 
as is commonly held, at one of the great Festivals, 
he must have been executed either close to the 
Passover or to Pentecost. The Passover is commonly 
preferred, in view of the statement of Hegesippus 

1 Cp. Lewin, Fasti Sacri, Ixxx. and p. 328 at 1933. 


(Eusebius, HE, ii. 23); but this date, while highly 
probable, cannot be regarded as settled because of 
the doubt attending the entire narrative of Hegesip- 
pus. It may even be questioned whether the death 
of James took place at any Festival. On or before 
such occasions criminals were frequently executed, 
doubtless with the view of giving greater publicity 
to their fate. But whether any such motive weighed 
with the younger Annas is uncertain. His policy 
seems to have been to procure the condemnation of 
James before the arrival of Albinus. If this were 
so, it is not necessary to hold that he would await the 
approach of a Festival in order to have the sentence 
carried out then. The account of the proceedings 
of Annas suggests that James was suddenly arrested, 
tried, condemned, and executed ; and it is possible 
that this action may have coincided with the date of 
one of the greater Festivals, but the alternative that 
it did not is equally open. Annas was in office for 
only three months, and the dates of his accession 
and removal cannot be fixed with precision. It is 
possible that he may have been appointed sufficiently 
early to allow of his having had James put to death 
before or immediately after the Passover of 62. Not 
less probable, however, is the supposition that the 
condemnation of James may have taken place in 
the interval between the Passover and Pentecost. 
Whether James, then, was put to death shortly before 
or after the Passover of Pentecost of 62 cannot be 


It is natural that writers who consider the passage 

in Josephus relating to the death of James to be an 

interpolation, should prefer the date suggested by the 

narrative of Hegesippus. The language of Hegesippus 

admits of different interpretations, and hence even 

those scholars who accept his testimony are not 

unanimous as to the date which must be assigned to 

the execution of James. The year 66, shortly before 

the outbreak of the Jewish War, is favoured by 

many, while others again ascribe it to the year 

preceding the destruction of Jerusalem, namely 69, 

which is the date given in the Paschal Chronicle (ed. 

Bonn, i. 460). Hegesippus brings his account of the 

death of James to an end with the words, "And 

immediately Vespasian besieged them." Further, 

Eusebius himself regards the siege of Jerusalem as 

having taken place immediately after the martyrdom 

of James, and intimates that this was also the view 

of Josephus (HE, ii. 23). Elsewhere, too, he states 

(iii. 11) that the conquest of Jerusalem followed 

immediately upon the martyrdom of James. Josephus 

and Hegesippus are evidently the authorities on which 

Eusebius rests, and the statement of Hegesippus 

points either to 66 or 69. That it does not indicate 

the latter year exclusively may be regarded as certain. 

The siege of Jerusalem was undertaken by Titus, not 

by Vespasian ; and though the language of Hegesippus 

might be understood of the siege of Jerusalem by 

Titus, it finds a still more suitable explanation in 

the siege and conquest of such towns as Jotapata, 


Gamala, and Thabor. To insist that the adverb 
immediately/ as used by Hegesippus, can only 
designate an interval of a few months is preposterous. 
On the whole, then, the language of Hegesippus may 
be regarded as applying to the year 66 or 69. 

The narrative of Hegesippus, however, is not 
absolutely inconsistent with that of Josephus. There 
is nothing to forbid the account in Hegesippus to 
be understood of an interval of three or four years. 
Even though James were put to death in 62, 
Hegesippus might readily have traced a connection 
between that event and the origin of the Jewish 
war in 66, and have spoken of one of these as 
immediately preceding the other. Under any circum 
stances, the year 62 is to be preferred. The 
testimony of Josephus, besides being that of a con 
temporary, is precise. The other possible but less 
probable dates are 61 and 63. Eusebius himself 
in the Chronicle assigns the martyrdom of James to 
the seventh year of Nero, namely 61, while Jerome 
in his edition puts it in the eighth, namely 62 
(McGiffert s Eusebius, 127). 

James, according to Hegesippus, was buried near 
the temple, on the spot where he was put to death ; but 
this statement is at variance with the Jewish custom 
of burying the dead beyond the walls of the city. 
Accordingly, it has been suggested that James was 
cast from the verge of a precipice on Mount Moriah 
into the gorge beneath (Stanley s Apostolic Age), and 
buried there among the rocks of the Valley of 


Jehoshaphat. As, however, the whole narrative is 
legendary, there is no need to show how he might 
have been cast from the battlement of the Temple 
into the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Tradition in the 
time of Jerome made the place of burial the Mount 
of Olives (de Vir. Illust. 2). 

The cavern or grotto of St. James shown to 
travellers to-day (Baedeker s Palestine) is not the 
supposed tomb of James, but the place where he is 
said to have lain hidden, tasting no food, between 
the Crucifixion and the Eesurrection. This tradition 
dates from the sixth century. 

According to Hegesippus, a Pillar or Monument 
of James existed in his time ; and there is no reason 
to call this statement in question. It might well be 
that the Christians in Jerusalem raised a memorial to 
their first and greatest ruler. The date of the erection 
of the monument is uncertain. It certainly cannot 
have been built immediately after the death of James, 
for it is scarcely probable that the Christian community 
would have ventured or been permitted to do so, and 
any such monument must have been destroyed in 70. 
It might have been put up by the Church after the 
return from Pella, and in this case it would have 
been erected by Jewish Christians ; but it is difficult 
to believe that such a monument would have been 
spared by Bar-Cochba. Hence it may be inferred 
that the monument of which Hegesippus speaks was 
probably erected after Jerusalem had ceased to be a 
Jewish city. The monument, then, must have been 


built by the members of the Gentile Christian Church 
established in the city. Nor is such a step on their 
part surprising, for there is no reason to believe that 
the Gentile Christian Church held any other views than 
its predecessor, the Jewish Christian Church. There 
was no discontinuity between the one Church and the 
other, for both alike were Catholic. 

As late as the time of Eusebius (HE, vii. 19) the 
Episcopal Chair or Throne of James was shown in 
Jerusalem. (According to Zahn, the same fact is 
attested for the time of Timseus, bishop of Antioch 
270-280, by Gregory Barhebraeus.) That the chair 
spoken of was believed to have been used by James 
admits of no doubt. But that the belief was baseless 
admits equally of no doubt. Did James possess any 
such chair ? Was this chair a bishop s throne ? Did 
the Christians who withdrew to Pella carry it with 
them ? Did they bring it back again ? Was it 
carried away with them when they fled before the 
pitiless hatred of Bar-Cochba ? Was it borne back 
once more by those Christians who chose to settle 
in the capital, now known by the name of Aelia 
Capitolina and become a Gentile city ? 

The belief that an ancient chair in Jerusalem was 
the original chair of James is an evidence that his 
memory was cherished among the purely Gentile com 
munity. Some chair of considerable antiquity was 
preserved by the Christians, and the legend grew up 
that it was the chair of James. Not the slightest 
trace of any superstitious reverence for the chair 


appears in the account of Eusebius. The care with 
which the chair was kept was to him a memorable 
sign of the reverence of the Church of his own and 
earlier times for eminent piety. But it was nothing 



IT has been shown already that the narrative of 
Hegesippus regarding James is so confused and 
self-contradictory as to be incredible. But the 
account could not have been written had James not 
occupied a great, if not the first place in the Christian 
community of Jerusalem. Besides Hegesippus, the 
only testimony regarding James and his position 
entitled to be examined is that of Clement of 
Alexandria and of the Clementine literature. Clement 
in the Sixth Book of his Hypot. (Eusebius, HE, ii. 1) 
relates that Peter and James and John after the 
Eesurrection of the Saviour were not ambitious of 
honour, though the preference shown them by the 
Lord might have entitled them to it, but chose James 
the Just bishop of Jerusalem. In the Seventh Book 
he adds that the Lord after the Kesurrection delivered 
the Gnosis to James the Just and John and Peter ; 
these delivered it to the rest of the Apostles, and the 
rest of the Apostles to the Seventy of whom Barnabas 
was one (Lightfoot s translation in his G-alatians). The 
conclusion has often been drawn from the second of 
these passages that Clement represents James as the 



cousin of our Lord ; but the only valid inference is 
that he believed him to be an Apostle. The expres 
sion " the rest of the Apostles " implies that James 
the Just was also an Apostle. It does not, however, 
follow that Clement believed him to be one of the 
Twelve. He might have held him to be an Apostle 
without including him in the group of the Twelve. 
That he did consider him to be our Lord s brother is 
established by a fragment of the Hypot., preserved in 
a Latin translation by Cassiodorus, in which Jude is 
expressly spoken of as the brother of James and the 
son of Joseph, and our Lord s own brother. Had it 
not been for this statement, it might have been argued 
that Clement identifies James the Just with James 
the son of Alphtmis as the second James among the 
Twelve. But this view cannot be defended in the face 
of the quotation just given, and is excluded by the 
absence of any reference to it in the works of Origen 
and Jerome, where, if it had been the opinion of 
Clement, it would almost certainly have been 

But if Clement is right in his opinion that James 
was the brother of our Lord, his other statements are 
clearly wrong, for they are inconsistent with the 
entire tenor of the New Testament. It is impossible 
with the New Testament in our hands to believe that 
Peter, James, and John chose James to be bishop of 
Jerusalem. Up to the year 44 at least, Peter is the 
most prominent figure in the history of the Church of 
Jerusalem, and is entitled to be called its bishop, 


should that designation be applied to anyone. If 
Clement derived his information from any authority, 
the source on. which he depended was wholly untrust 
worthy. He perhaps, however, expresses only his own 
opinion, and that opinion was naturally coloured by 
the ecclesiastical arrangements existing in his own 

The assertion of Clement, that James was chosen 
bishop of Jerusalem by the three Apostles, may simply 
have been an opinion of his own. On the other hand, 
it may have descended to him from tradition, or he 
may have found it in some other author. However 
this may be, his statement regarding the communica 
tion of the Gnosis by our Lord most probably rests on 
some written or unwritten authority. We know from 
Hippolytus (Hccr. x. 6) that the Naasenes regarded 
James as the agent through whom certain communica 
tions had been made to Mariamne, from whom they 
in their turn had received them. The Mariamne 
spoken of was probably Mary of Magdala. Substanti 
ally the same assertion is made in Origen (c. Celsum, 
v. 62). Its source is probably to be found in the 
Gospel of the Egyptians, which is known to have been 
used by the Naasenes. The origin of this Gospel can 
hardly be later than the middle of the second century ; 
but there is no reason to believe that its contents 
possess any historical value. 

The name of James occurs frequently in the 
Clementine literature, and the position assigned to 
him is one of exceptional dignity. His is the greatest 


personality in the Church. He is as much the chief 
bishop of the Christian Church as Caiaphas is the 
.chief priest of the Jews (Recog. i. 68). No teacher 
is to be believed unless he bring from Jerusalem a 
testimonial from James the Lord s brother (Recog. iv. 
35). Every Apostle, teacher, or prophet must be 
shunned who does not compare his teaching with that 
of James (Homilies, xi. 35). James is the lord and 
bishop of the Holy Church (Letter of Peter to James). 
He is the bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalem the 
Holy Church of the Hebrews and the Churches founded 
by the providence of God (Letter of Clement). In 
the whole of the Clementine literature he appears as 
superior to the Apostles themselves, and as the 
supreme doctrinal authority of the Church. 

It is evident that none of these statements is of 
the slightest historical worth. They are found in 
works which are pure fabrications, and which are 
distinguished by their total disregard of history and 
chronology. At most they show the light in which 
James was regarded by certain sectaries in the begin 
ning of the third century. It is true that the editors 
or compilers of these different writings must have 
made use of other works in making their own : they 
doubtless merely adapted to their purposes books 
already in existence. But the nature and number of 
these works can hardly be ascertained with accuracy. 
There is, however, much probability, as we have seen, 
that one of these was the Steps or Ascents of James. 
The later chapters of the First Book of the Recognitions 


differ from those that precede, and evidently embody 
statements derived from another source. The story 
of Clement has been incorporated in an older docu 
ment, and this document was probably the Steps or 
Ascents of James. It has, indeed, been argued (Salmon, 
Diet, of Biog.) that the author himself indicates a 
different source for this part of the work. The last 
chapter of the third book of the Recognitions describes 
the contents of the ten books sent by Clement to 
James as consisting of the discourses delivered by 
Peter at Csesarea. The seventh of these books dealt 
with the things which the Twelve Apostles treated 
of in the presence of the people in the Temple. The 
ten books referred to must evidently be distinguished 
from the Recognitions themselves. Whether they ever 
existed is open to question ; but, if they existed, their 
date can hardly be placed much earlier than the 
Recognitions. If the books mentioned were actually 
written, it is possible that the seventh book was that 
from which the editor or author of the Recognitions 
drew his materials. But this conclusion is not at 
variance with the view that the Steps or Ascents of 
James may have been worked up in our present 
Recognitions. It is quite true that the seventh book 
of the alleged discourses of Peter at Caesarea cannot 
be identified with the addresses delivered by James 
from the Temple steps. The one work apparently 
consisted of discourses by the Apostles, the other of 
discourses by James alone. Besides, to the author 
of the Recognitions, at any rate, and probably therefore 


to the author of the book of Peter s discourses also, 
James is the bishop of Jerusalem and not an Apostle. 
But, though this is true, the Steps or Ascents of James 
may nevertheless be the basis on which the later 
chapters of the first book of the Recognitions 
ultimately rest. These later chapters describe a 
public discussion between the Apostles and the Jewish 
authorities to which they had been challenged by the 
high priest. First the high priest, then the Sadducees, 
then the Samaritans, then the Scribes, then the 
Pharisees, then the disciples of John are refuted, and 
all the people are told that Jesus is the eternal Christ, 
and are solemnly warned to receive the Son of God 
before the Twelve disciples should go forth to the 
Gentiles. The discussion is resumed the next day, 
and the Apostles are accompanied to the Temple by 
James the bishop and by the whole Church. James 
then proceeds to answer certain questions put by 
Caiaphas, and through seven successive days persuades 
the people and the high priest to hasten to receive 
baptism, and they are on the point of doing so when 
an enemy of the Christian Faith enters the Temple 
and cries out, " Why are you led headlong by most 
miserable men who are deceived by Symeon a 
magician ? " The result is a tumult in which that 
enemy attacks James, throws him headlong from the 
top of the steps, and leaves him for dead. James is 
lifted up, carried to his house where the night is 
spent, and the next day the Christians, five thousand 
in number, depart for Jericho. 


This narrative of the death of James reminds us 
at once of the account of Hegesippus. The principal 
difference between them is that, according to the 
Recognitions, James was cast down from the Temple 
steps ; while, according to Hegesippus, he was cast 
down from the pinnacle of the Temple. If, as is 
probable, the Steps or Ascents of James existed before 
Hegesippus wrote, he may have derived his account 
of the death of James directly or indirectly from it. 
Different traditions regarding that death may have 
reached him, and it is possible that he sought to 
combine these into a single whole. It has been 
acutely pointed out (Lipsius, Apok Apost. ii. 242) that, 
according to Hegesippus, an endeavour was made to 
put James to death in three different ways : by 
casting him down from the Temple pinnacle, by 
stoning, and by beating with a club ; and that these 
attempts indicate a combination of different legends. 
It is possible that the most ancient account related 
that he was cast down from the steps of the Temple 
and stoned to death. The conjecture, then, that the 
description of the attempt on the life of James in the 
Recognitions is derived from the Steps or Ascents of 
James is not incredible. It is true that the legend 
of the Recognitions is a fragment belonging to a work 
which related the struggles between Peter and his 
enemy, who is undoubtedly Paul. But the Ascents 
of James may have dealt with similar materials, or 
may, as we have seen, have been made use of in this 
later work. There is nothing opposed to the view 


that the Steps of James reported addresses which he 
delivered from the Steps of the Temple and his 
subsequent martyrdom, and contained, therefore, essen 
tially the same legend which Hegesippus relates. 
Whether the foul charges against Paul mentioned by 
Epiphanius (Hcer. xxx. 16) were derived from the 
same source, must remain undecided. 

This examination shows that nothing of historical 
value regarding James is to be found in the state 
ments of Clement of Alexandria or of the Clementine 
literature, and it is needless to refer to later works. 
All subsequent writers are indebted to Josephus and 
Hegesippus, and frequently combine their materials 
in the most arbitrary and erroneous way. Eusebius 
had access to no other authorities, and the account 
of Epiphanius appears, except where it evidently 
reproduces Hegesippus, to be purely imaginary. This 
may even be the case with the date of the martyrdom, 
which he assigns to the year 57, when James was 
ninety-six years of age ; although it is not less 
probable that this date is drawn directly or indirectly 
from some written source. Jerome s account is 
confused and erroneous, and is evidently a compilation 
from Josephus, Hegesippus, and Eusebius. 

James is commonly described as the bishop of 
Jerusalem. This is the title usually applied to him 
in Christian writings, and it can be traced back to 
the middle of the second century. He is generally 
regarded as the earliest instance of a bishop. But 
was he a bishop in anything approaching to a strict 


sense of the term ? Did he discharge any functions 
peculiar to himself ? Was he other than a member 
of a corporation ? No weight can be attached to the 
designation bishop universally applied to him by 
antiquity, for the Ignatian Epistles prove that the 
bishopric as an institution existed long before the 
time of Hegesippus, who is apparently the first to 
speak of James as the bishop of Jerusalem. The 
question then is this, Are we warranted by the 
Scripture evidence in regarding James as a bishop 
in the special meaning of the word ? It is argued 
that the position assigned to him in the Acts and in 
Galatians proves that he occupied a unique station, 
practically identical with that filled by a bishop of 
later times. Peter, when about to quit Jerusalem, 
asks that the news of his safety should be reported to 
James and to the brethren. James presided at the 
Congress in Jerusalem, and seems to have dictated its 
resolutions. Paul, when giving an account of the 
transactions of the Congress, mentions his name before 
those of Peter and John ; and when visiting Jerusalem 
for the last time in 58 is formally received by James 
as the representative of the local Church. These 
instances, it is alleged, establish the conclusion that 
James was the bishop of Jerusalem. But there is a 
wide gulf between these premises and the inference 
drawn from them. Even if the premises were 
admitted, the inference would not follow. All that 
is said concerning James could be true without his 
position being different from that of the ordinary 


presbyter. The premises, moreover, are to some extent 
doubtful. No argument can be drawn from Peter s 
desire that his escape should be mentioned to James 
and the brethren, except that James was prominent 
in the Church. The statement that he presided at 
the Congress is debatable, and the assumption that he 
did is therefore unwarranted. That his name occurs 
before those of Peter and John in the Epistle to 
the Galatians (chap. 2) may be merely accidental, 
and is certainly no basis for the conclusion that 
he took precedence over Peter and John in the 
Church of Jerusalem. The mention of his name 
when Paul visited the capital for the last time 
shows, indeed, his high position in the Church 
there; but the fact that the presbyters are stated 
to have been present with him hardly supports 
the view that his position differed essentially from 

For if James was bishop of Jersualem, when was 
he raised to the office ? Why is no account of his 
elevation found in the Acts ? Was he bishop when 
Paul visited the city for the first time after his 
conversion ? If so, why did Paul repair thither to visit 
Peter rather than James ? Why did he not, under 
any circumstances whatever, go to visit both Peter 
and James ? Again, if he was not bishop till 44, 
the year of the death of James the brother of John, 
why does his name not appear when Paul and 
Barnabas somewhere about this date brought the 
gifts of the Church of Antioch to Jerusalem ? Why, 


too, is it absent when the formal reception of the 
delegates from Antioch by the Church of Jerusalem 
is related ? (Ac 1 5 4 ). Why are the Apostles and 
elders alone mentioned and not the bishop ? Further, 
if he were bishop and framed the decree, why is not 
his name inserted in it ? Why is the decree spoken 
of (Ac 16 4 ) as ordained by the Apostles and elders, 
while the name of the bishop is passed over ? These 
considerations show that it is impossible to ascribe 
to James a position independent of the Apostles and 
elders. He may have been the Chairman of the 
eldership or presbytery, raised to that dignity because 
of his eminent personal gifts ; but there is no trace 
of his having discharged functions that could not 
be performed by any other member of the body. 
Nothing suggests that his authority stood higher than 
that of the Apostles and presbyters, and that the 
latter were merely his advisers. On the contrary, 
this view seems refuted by the fact that he is 
never designated bishop, and that his name is not 
mentioned in connection with the reception of the 
delegates from Antioch and with the publication of 
the decision of the Congress. 

That James was the most prominent figure in the 
Christian Church of Jerusalem, and exercised as such 
a wide and penetrating influence, need not be disputed ; 
but just because he is never called bishop in the 
New Testament, because no notice of his being raised 
to the office is found there, and because no such 
functions as are commonly associated with a bishop 


are ascribed to him, it is improper to designate him 
bishop of Jerusalem. 

It has been sought to show that, while James was 
not bishop of Jerusalem in the sense in which the 
term is applicable to the bishop of a Gentile 
community, he was nevertheless a bishop. He and 
his successors in the see of Jerusalem till the time 
of Hadrian are instances of Jewish Christian bishops, 
all other bishops being Gentile Christian. The 
peculiarity of the Jewish Christian bishop was that 
he was conceived to be a successor of the Lord, not 
a successor of the Apostles. Hence James is 
addressed as lord, and government and discipline 
and not teaching are regarded as the essential 
attributes of his office. Hence, too, the transmission 
of his office to the relatives of Jesus must be under 
stood as the temporary continuation of the lordship 
over the Kingdom of God belonging to the Messiah, 
and which He will assume at the Second Advent 
(Bitschl, Alt. Kirche, 416). This description of the 
episcopate of James is admittedly drawn from sources 
which are not absolutely historical. Our Lord, it is 
allowed, did not commit to James the government 
of the entire Church, and it is clear from the Acts 
that he was not the representative of Christ and the 
chief ruler of the community. Though the roots 
of the episcopate in the Jewish Christian community 
go back to its earliest days, nevertheless that episco 
pate was not founded by Christ. 

But had the Jewish Christian bishops any real 


existence ? Were James and the bishops that 
followed him in Jerusalem chosen as the successors 
of Jesus, and therefore necessarily His relatives ? 
The passage from Hegesippus on which Eitschl bases 
his view that James was chosen to rule over the 
entire Church in the place of Jesus (Eusebius, HE, ii. 
23) is probably only intended to state the unquestion 
able fact that in conjunction with the Apostles he took 
a leading part in managing the affairs of the Church. 
The idea that James, according to Hegesippus, took 
the place of our Lord is a mere fantasy. 

The testimony of the Clementine writings, which 
make James the lord and bishop of all Christian 
communities, has been shown to be valueless. Nor 
is it the case that Symeon was chosen to succeed 
James because he was related to our Lord. This 
point will be fully discussed immediately : meanwhile 
it may be said that this is not the only possible sense 
of the words, and is, in truth, a meaning excluded by 
the facts related. No hint is anywhere given that 
the authority of James passed as such to Symeon. 
It is merely stated that Symeon succeeded James as 
bishop of the Church at Jerusalem. Still less can 
the conclusion be drawn from the list of bishops of 
Jerusalem given by Eusebius (HE, iv. 5) that the 
same official character which belonged to James and 
Symeon as relatives of our Lord belonged to them 
likewise. Had Eusebius believed that the fifteen 
bishops whose names he records were all related to 
our Lord, he would almost certainly have mentioned 


so striking a fact. Nothing in his pages suggests that 
he held these bishops to be our Lord s kinsmen. Fur 
ther, why should this view of the bishopric have ceased 
when Jerusalem became a Gentile city ? Might it not 
have been expected to perpetuate itself among those 
Christian Jews who continued to observe the Law ? Yet 
no trace of such an office is known to have existed. 
Nor is it the case that the peculiarity of the Jewish 
Christian bishop consisted in his being a representative 
of our Lord. Was Ignatius a Christian Jew ? 

The view, then, that James was the first of a series 
of Jewish Christian bishops whose attributes differed 
essentially from those of Gentile Christian rulers of 
the same name, rests on no solid basis. The James 
of authentic history was not a bishop ; but, if James 
was not a bishop, what was his position ? Was his 
rank peculiar to himself ? It has lately been contended 
that, while no trace of episcopacy can be found in 
any trustworthy documents which describe the Church 
of Jerusalem, because the episcopate is an institution 
of Greek origin, the position of James within the 
Church corresponds to the position of the high priest 
as president of the Sanhedrin. The council of the 
elders which surrounded James and over which he 
presided was, we are told, modelled on the Sanhedrin 
of which the high priest was chairman (Seville s 
Origines de V Episcopal). But no evidence in sup 
port of this opinion can be produced. Not a word 
or phrase can be quoted from the New Testament 
tending to show that the Christian Church ever 


regarded James or any of its rulers as occupying the 
same position within the Church as the high priest 
did within the Sanhedrin. Nowhere is the eldership 
compared with the Sanhedrin, or its chairman with 
the high priest. What possible motive could have 
induced the Christians to frame their mode of govern 
ment after that of the supreme court ? Were there 
priests and lawyers and nobles among the Christians ? 
If the high priest presided in the Sanhedrin by 
virtue of his office, why is his Christian representative 
not called by the same title ? Is it credible that 
any Christian ruler would have been spoken of as 
the true high priest ? Would this language have 
become the lips of Christians who believed that 
Jesus was the sole High Priest ? Is it credible that 
a usage so absolutely opposed to the Epistle to the 
Hebrews ever obtained currency in Jewish Christian 
circles and then vanished without leaving the faintest 
impression of itself ? It is pure illusion to suppose 
that the primitive Church of Jerusalem saw in James 
its high priest the brother of the Messiah, the heir 
of His rights, the ruler appointed to govern the 
community of the Messiah until the Second Advent. 
The appeal so often made to the existence of the 
relatives of Mohammed is no true parallel, for not 
a syllable in the New Testament suggests that our 
Lord s relatives were intended to succeed Him as the 
supreme authorities and even high priests of the 
Church. This point will come up for fuller examina 
tion immediately. 


The question whether James was an Apostle has 
already been discussed in some measure, and it has 
been shown that he is probably called such by Paul 
when speaking of an incident which falls not later than 
3739. But the term Apostle was employed by 
Paul in a comprehensive sense to denote Christian 
workers to whom we never apply the name, and hence 
the designation of James as an Apostle hardly throws 
any light on his position in the Church ; for it is not 
easy to ascertain from Paul s language what was the 
function of an Apostle, how he was appointed to office, 
and what was his measure of authority within the 
Church of Jerusalem. Information fails us as to 
whether James was known in Jerusalem as an 
Apostle ; but there is nothing improbable or incredible 
in this supposition, because Paul is likely to have 
followed general usage, and because the term Apostle 
was used with considerable latitude in Jewish Christian 
Churches as well as in Gentile circles. 

If, however, James did not belong to the number 
of the Twelve, and if he did not occupy a unique 
position analogous to that of a bishop, must he be 
described as an elder ? This would seem to follow 
from the circumstance that the Decree of the Confer 
ence ran in the name of the Apostles and elders as 
well as that of the Church. And, as James was not 
included among the Apostles, he must almost certainly 
be included among the elders. It is some corrobora- 
tion of this view that he appears along with the elders 
on the occasion of Paul s last visit to Jerusalem, and 


speaks as it were in their name. The most obvious 
interpretation of the relation between James and the 
elders is that he was their spokesman or chairman. 
Nor is there any contradiction between the conclusion 
that he was an elder or presbyter and the statement 
of Paul that he was an Apostle. For the same person 
could be at once an Apostle and an elder. 

It has, however, been denied that he held any official 
position in the Church. No evidence exists to show 
that during his lifetime there was any regular 
governing body in the Church of Jerusalem. Neither 
the Apostles nor the elders constituted any such body, 
and James consequently occupied no official position. 

This opinion, however, cannot be accepted. There 
must have been some government in the Church of 
Jerusalem, and this government was largely directed 
by James. The phrase official position/ when 
applied to the first century, is uncertain in its 
meaning. But if it be taken to signify known and 
acknowledged authority, a title to command, then it 
may be asserted that James held official rank within 
the Church, and that he ruled at least over the Chris 
tian congregation at Jerusalem in conjunction with 
the elders. 

For the elders of Jerusalem seem to have been a 
body entrusted with the government of the Church. 
They were not merely the older Christians. It cannot 
be shown that age was ever in itself a standard or 
criterion in the Apostolic Church, and that men solely 
on account of their years were designated as elders or 


presbyters. Besides, age is itself an ambiguous term 
in this connection, and may designate either length of 
years or length of Christian experience. There is no 
proof that the title of elder or presbyter was merely 
one of honour, used to designate the aged members of 
the community ; and, even on the assumption that it 
was a designation of honour, its use cannot have been 
indiscriminate. Wherever men are united for any 
object, some form or mode of government becomes 
necessary. This is true of the Church as of other 
institutions. From the very first it required some 
guides, rulers, authorities. These it had in the 
Apostles. But government was not their special task, 
and soon the need of providing for the fulfilment of 
certain duties springing out of the economical arrange 
ments of the Church led to the appointment of the 
Seven. As far as our information extends, the Twelve 
and the Seven were the only authorities in the 
Christian community till the first persecution. It is 
possible that, when the Church was reconstituted after 
this event, the office of the elder was introduced. The 
form it took was doubtless suggested by the existence 
of the eldership among the Jews ; yet it was none the 
less a natural growth. The office was called for by 
the needs of the Church, and was specially adapted to 
these needs. The Christian elder differed in several 
respects from the Jewish elder, for his functions 
related exclusively to the spiritual interests of which 
he was the guardian. 

The existence of elders in the Church of Jerusalem 


at so early a date has been impugned (Weizsacker 
and McGiffert deny the existence of elders in the first 
age). Christians still continued to worship in the 
Synagogues and to frequent the Temple. Would not 
the formation of a separate body with an organisation 
of its own have seemed to cut them off from the rest 
of their fellow-countrymen ? But the Church had an 
existence and led a life of its own from the first. The 
Christians met together as Christians ; they had their 
own worship, institutions, and mode of life. They 
formed a community by themselves. The Apostles 
were the nucleus of the organisation, for their relation 
to Jesus invested them with an authority which made 
them the rulers of the new community. No fact is 
plainer than that the Christians lived a separate and 
independent existence, with an organisation of their 
own from the first, and hence the conditions for the 
institution of an office such as the eldership were 
always present. 

The origin of the eldership is not to be sought in 
the departure from Jerusalem of the Apostles in order 
to enter on their missionary labours. This with 
drawal on their part would certainly furnish an ex 
planation of the establishment of the office, but of such 
an abandonment of the metropolis by the Apostles as 
a body there is no proof. The statement found in 
the apocryphal Preaching of Peter (Clem. Alex. Strom. 
vi. 5), that our Lord commanded the Apostles to quit 
Jerusalem after twelve years, is no more credible than 
the other traditions regarding the movements of the 


Apostles (cf. Hort, Eccl 89; Harnack, Chron. 243, 
accepts it). Besides, it is contradicted by the state 
ment of the Acts. Our Lord was put to death most 
probably in 29 or 30, and twelve years thereafter 
brings us to 41 or 42. But two at least of the 
Apostles, and for aught known to the contrary all the 
Apostles, were in Jerusalem in the year 44. The rest 
of the Apostles may have fled from the city when 
James the son of Zebedee was beheaded and Peter put 
in prison, but there is nothing to show that their 
withdrawal and that of Peter was other than 
temporary. A few years later, Peter and John, and 
probably the rest of the Apostles, were in Jerusalem 
at the Congress ; and it would seem as if Jerusalem 
was then their ordinary place of residence. Further, 
is it conceivable that an event of such cardinal im 
portance in the history of Gentile Christianity, as the 
departure of the Apostles to enter on missionary 
labours throughout the world, should have been un 
known to, or unmentioned by, Luke ? Does not the 
historian plainly imply that the mission on which 
Paul and Barnabas were despatched by the Church of 
Antioch was the first systematic attempt to preach to 
the Gentiles ? 

The elders occupy a prominent place at the 
Congress of Jerusalem. They receive the delegates 
from Antioch, and they are associated with the 
Apostles in the superscription of the letter. The 
historian speaks of the Ecclesia and the Apostles and 
the elders, as if he desired to enumerate the three 


bodies composing the Congress. The elders are here 
evidently a definite group, and their association with 
the Apostles in the superscription of the letter shows 
that they were held to be largely concerned in the 
decision. On the occasion of Paul s last visit to 
Jerusalem he is formally received by James and the 
elders. He presents to them the gifts from his 
different Churches ; and, in order to refute the calumny 
widely circulated regarding him, they ask him to take 
a step which he immediately fulfils. 

It is plain, then, from these passages that the elders 
were the authorities, and possibly the sole authori 
ties, of the Church in Jerusalem. And James must 
evidently be regarded as one of them. The reference 
to James (Ac 15 22 ) can hardly be understood, except 
on the ground that he was a member of their body, 
and shared with them the responsibility of administer 
ing the affairs of the Church. 

It is almost universally assumed that the charge of 
James was strictly local (Hort, Judaistic Christianity, 
79 ; Lightfoot, Galatians). He was president of the 
Church of Jerusalem only. But there are arguments 
which almost demonstrate that the sphere he filled was 
wider. The Church of Jerusalem was the mother Church 
of all the Jewish Churches. These Churches, it is clear, 
were united to it, and freely acknowledged its authority. 
It can hardly be supposed that the different Christian 
congregations in Judaea ever regarded themselves as 
independent of one another and of the Church in 
Jerusalem. Jewish modes of thought and action in 


the first century, apart altogether from the hints 
furnished by the Acts, suggest the conclusion that the 
leader of the Church of Jerusalem exercised a super 
intendence over the other Churches within the Holy 
Land. It may then be taken for granted that the 
authority of James extended at least over the Holy 
Land. Nor is there ground for thinking that he 
resided in Jerusalem so exclusively as never to have 
visited any of the neighbouring Churches. This 
course is in itself highly improbable, and is incon 
sistent with the fact attested by Paul (1 Co 9) that 
the brethren of the Lord made journeys of visitation. 
His Epistle, too, is evidence that he considered him 
self entitled to address the Jewish Churches of the 
Dispersion, and he may, for anything we know to the 
contrary, have visited some of their congregations. 

On the view often taken that the Apostles were 
the supreme rulers of the Church, by the will of God, 
the problem of the relation of the authority of James 
to that of the Apostles is insoluble ; but on the 
correct view it offers little difficulty. The powers 
wielded by James and the Twelve were chiefly moral. 
They made no laws, they performed no acts of 
administration at their own instance. On all occasions 
they sought the co-operation of the Church in which 
they happened to be. Nowhere in the New Testa 
ment are any of the authorities of the Church, not 
even Peter or John or James, described as oracles or 
judges whose utterances and decisions are final and 
unchangeable. The New Testament acknowledges no 


supreme rule or infallible teaching except the Holy 
Spirit, and James and the Twelve were, no more than 
many others in the Church, the organs of the Spirit. 
Accordingly, collision between James and the Twelve 
there could be none, for they were in no sense rival 
powers. And, notwithstanding the offices they filled, 
apostleship in the stricter or wider sense, their 
influence was mainly personal. It was the man 
James or Peter and not the Apostle James or Peter 
whose views were heard with reverence in the 

The suggestion has often been made that James 
was not merely an Apostle in the wider sense of the 
term, but that he was actually admitted into the circle 
of the Twelve. But of this fact there is no evidence, 
and it is in the highest degree improbable. The lan 
guage of Peter in describing the qualifications of a 
successor to Judas specifies conditions which James 
did not fulfil ; and if these conditions remained in 
force, he could never have been eligible as one of the 
Twelve. This argument is strengthened by the fact 
that it is nowhere related that James was enrolled 
among the Twelve, and it is difficult to believe that 
so important an incident would have been unrecorded 
by Luke. Those who maintain that he was tacitly 
assumed as one of them, or elected into the body, 
refer the event to a time shortly after the death of 
James the son of Zebedee. Yet not only is there no 
notice of his election, but prior to the supposed event 
he himself appears in the same lofty position that he 


continued to hold till the close of his life. Did he 
then receive no accession of rank or power when 
called to be an Apostle ? Had the primitive Church 
a purely honorary office ? 

Nor is this all : James is never termed an Apostle 
by St. Luke, who confines the term to the Twelve 
exclusively, save on the two occasions on which he so 
describes Paul and Barnabas when on their first 
missionary journey. This exception may be only 
apparent, for Paul and Barnabas are probably thus 
denominated as delegates of the Church of Antioch, 
and not as Apostles of Jesus Christ. Had James 
been of the Twelve, Luke would surely have been 
careful to remove from the Acts the impression which 
it leaves on the reader that he was not included in 
the group. The assertion that James must have been 
one of the Twelve, because of his position and 
authority, belongs to a type of argument which is 
happily becoming extinct, and which does not demand 
serious examination. 

The view has often been expressed that the great 
place occupied by James in Jerusalem was due to his 
relationship to Jesus the Messiah. The Jews attached 
exceeding importance to the ties of blood, and hence 
conceded a position to him which he could not have 
acquired by his talents. He was the leader of the 
Church of Jerusalem not because of his intellectual 
and moral ascendency, but because he was a brother 
of our Lord s. This opinion deserves to be carefully 
examined not only because of its bearing on the career 


of Jarnes, but because of the insight which, if true, 
it affords into the modes of thought current within 
the Church of Jerusalem. 

What now is the evidence which can be produced 
in its favour ? There is first of all the title given to 
James the brother of the Lord. But the fact that 
James is styled the Lord s brother is no proof that 
the. authority he wielded in the Church was not the 
result of his high character and eminent capacity. If 
it had been due to his relationship to Jesus, why was 
it not shared by his brothers ? Why did none of it 
pass to Jude ? The argument which is held to prove 
that it belonged to James must be held to disprove 
that it belonged to Jude and the rest of the brothers, 
for it is hard to see why they should not have 
participated in it ; and yet no trace of their having 
done so appears. To refute this argument it would 
be necessary to show that the principle of primogeni 
ture was in force within the Church, and that the 
distinction in question passed only to the oldest male 
relative. But this opinion is inconsistent with the 
position assigned to the grandchildren of Jude within 
the Church, and, indeed, with most that is said regard 
ing our Lord s relatives. Besides, is it likely that 
legitimist principles of this kind would have been 
acknowledged in a democratic and self-governing com 
munity like the primitive Church in Jerusalem ? Were 
such principles likely to be accepted there ? Why then 
were they not acted on from the first ? Why were 
Paul and Luke alike silent regarding so striking a 


fact ? Again, it is argued that the fact that James 
was succeeded in the bishopric by his cousin Symeon 
(Eusebius, HE, iii. 11, iv. 22) confirms the opinion 
that the position of Jarnes within the Church must 
have been due to his relationship to our Lord. It is 
hard to see the cogency of this argument. Why 
should the circumstance that James was followed by 
his cousin Symeon be taken as proof that they were 
both chosen on account of their relationship to our 
Lord ? In the absence of any statement that they 
were thus chosen, why should it be concluded that 
this was the ground of their selection ? It may be 
granted at once that their kinship to our Lord may 
have been an advantage and a recommendation. But 
this is a self-evident fact, for there are few societies 
in which a relationship to an eminent leader has no 
tendency to establish a certain claim to influence. 
The principle is active in the world to-day, and there 
is no reason for denying that the relations of our 
Lord were looked upon with honour in the Church, 
and that their qualifications for office were scanned 
with no unfriendly eye. But this is merely to say 
that, other things being equal, they would have a 
certain preference over others, and is widely remote 
from the assertion that in view of their kinship they 
enjoyed a rank which would not otherwise have fallen 
to them. There is no evidence which proves that 
James or any of our Lord s relatives owed their position 
in the Church to other than their own merits. There 
is no reason to question the fact that James was 


succeeded by Symeon his cousin, although the descrip 
tion of the election as having been made by the 
surviving Apostles and disciples of our Lord, along 
with the majority of our Lord s relatives, throws 
suspicion on the details of the narrative ; for no one 
can believe either that the surviving Apostles returned 
to Jerusalem to take part in the election of a suc 
cessor to James, or that our Lord s relatives as a body 
were convened in the same way as the Apostles. 
Again, if the ground on which Symeon was chosen 
was that of his relationship to our Lord, why was lie 
selected ? Was Jude dead ? Did James leave no 
sons ? Had none of his sisters sons ? The relations 
of our Lord were apparently numerous. Jude, it is 
known, had grandchildren. Was it necessary, then, 
to seek a successor to James in a son of his father s 
brother ? Is such an appointment an illustration of 
the hereditary principle ? 

Moreover, the very language in which the appoint 
ment of Symeon is related does not contain the asser 
tion that Symeon was chosen because of his kinship 
to our Lord. The language of Hegesippus may, indeed, 
bear this construction ; but this is not its most obvious 
meaning, and may be pronounced with confidence not 
to be its true meaning, for he could not possibly have 
described Thebuthis as a candidate for the bishopric 
of Jerusalem along with Symeon, and at the same 
time have asserted that the succession in the bishopric 
was confined to the nearest male relatives of our 


Again, it has been urged that the fact that the two 
grandsons of Jude, after being examined and released 
by Domitian, became rulers of the Churches (Eusebius, 
HE, iii. 20, 32) is additional proof of the existence 
of the hereditary principle within the Church of 
Jerusalem. An examination of the statement of 
Hegesippus and of its interpretation by Eusebius shows 
that the basis of the leadership in every Church 
ascribed to the two grandsons was that they were 
witnesses, namely, men who had testified their fidelity 
to Christ before a hostile tribunal, and, further, 
relations of the Lord. Without discussing here the 
extent of the authority over the Church attributed to 
them, it is noteworthy that that authority dated only 
from the time of their trial, and that it was due only 
in a subordinate degree to their kinship to our Lord. 
Besides, it should be pointed out that they are nowhere 
described as bishops of Jerusalem, yet this is the office 
which on the hypothesis under examination they 
should almost certainly have filled. 

Finally, it has been inferred from what is related 
regarding the Desposynoi by Julius Africanus (Eusebius, 
HE, i. 7, ii. 14) that relationship to our Lord con 
tinued to be a potent factor within the Church, and 
that its rulers were chosen from among our Lord s 
relatives. Africanus does not even assert that our 
Lord s relatives exercised authority within the Church. 
Only a mind which disdains to move in the limits of 
historical fact can regard our Lord s relatives as form 
ing an aristocracy in the Jewish Church which would 


have issued in the destruction of Christianity, had it 
not been for the number and weight of the Churches 
founded by Paul (Kenan, The Gospels). 

No statement is made regarding James more 
authoritatively than that he was held in the highest 
esteem alike by Christians and by the Jewish com 
munity at large. He was known far and wide by his 
title of the Just, a title which set forth the zeal and 
assiduity with which he fulfilled every obligation of 
the law. 

Is this assertion trustworthy ? Is it reasonable to 
hold that the leader of the Nazarenes was highly 
esteemed by his unbelieving fellow-countrymen ? 
Is this fact credible in the light of the statements of 
Acts ? How can it be reconciled with the hostility 
of the Sanhedrin, the persecution in which Stephen 
perished, and the persecution by Herod Agrippa ? It 
is difficult to believe that the Christian sect could 
ever have been popular in Jerusalem except during 
the first years of Christianity ; and if the sect itself 
were unpopular, it is still more difficult to conceive 
under what circumstances its most eminent represen 
tative, who would naturally be regarded as embodying 
its spirit, should have become popular. 

It may be argued, however, in reply, that the strict 
observance of the law attributed to James fully 
accounts for the admiration cherished for his character. 
That devotion compensated in the eyes of his fellow- 
countrymen for his adherence to the new sect. But 
is it not equally possible that his acceptance of the 


Messiahship of Jesus and his obvious want of sympathy 
with the political ideals and aspirations of the time 
rendered him the object of contempt if not of 
aversion ? 

Further, there occurs the question : Is it certain 
that James could have been the type and model of 
conformity to the Jewish Law which he has generally 
been described as being ? Did he possess the know 
ledge which enabled him to fulfil the prescriptions of 
Hillel and Shammai, of Gamaliel I. and of Hananiah 
ben Hezekiah ? Was he so conversant with the Law 
and its interpretation within the schools as to be able 
to acquire among the educated classes a repute for 
zeal and sanctity ? But especially, is it in the least 
degree probable that he would be distinguished for 
fidelity to the Law in such a manner as to command 
the approbation at once of his fellow- Christians and 
of his Jewish fellow-citizens ? Would a Christian 
have been held in special honour among his fellow- 
Christians for his strict and literal conformity to the 
precepts of Moses ? Any Christian, and especially 
the most conspicuous and devoted of the Christians, 
might conceivably have had some epithet bestowed 
upon him for distinctively Christian qualities or 
achievements. But it is difficult to realize clearly the 
situation in which the Christian Church should have 
bestowed a title of honour for the performance of acts 
that did not properly concern Christianity. Equally 
difficult is it to conceive the circumstances under which 
a life of faithful obedience to the requirements of the 


Law, such a life as must have been lived by every 
Christian in Jerusalem, should have won the attention 
and obtained the admiration of the Jewish populace 
of the capital. Or was the life of James exceptional 
among Christians ? Was it exceptional among Jews ? 
Only on these suppositions is the designation bestowed 
upon him intelligible, and neither of these suppositions 
can for a moment be entertained. 

What now is the evidence that James was thus 
highly esteemed and known to all as the Just ? If the 
passage quoted from Josephus by Origen (c. Celsum, 
i. 47) and repeated by Eusebius (HE, ii. 23) were 
genuine, the question would be settled. For in it 
James is expressly characterized as the Just. But 
the paragraph is condemned by all scholars as an 

Hegesippus, however (Eusebius, HE, ii. 23), affirms 
that James was termed the Just from the time of 
Christ onwards to his own day. The veracity of 
Hegesippus cannot be impeached, but this statement 
does not rest on his personal knowledge. It is not 
clear whether he is merely repeating what he found 
in one of his sources or stating what he had himself 
ascertained. He may have learned from his own 
reading that James had become known as the Just. 
On the other hand, it is possible that he found this 
statement in the Ascents of James or in some similar 
apocryphal work; at any rate, the assertion is in 
itself a reasonable inference from the language used 
to and regarding James in the Ascents. He could 


also have derived it from the Gospel of the Hebrews, 
where James is thus characterized. Or if the text 
of Josephus read by Origen were already in circula 
tion, he might have derived his information from it. 

The evidence, then, for the bestowal upon James 
of the title Just is narrowed to the testimony of 
Hegesippus, if it be independent of that of the Gospel 
of the Hebrews. But the nature of the testimony is 
hardly such as to justify us in believing that James 
received this title, alike within and without the 
Church, because of his strict fulfilment of the 
Levitical Law. If the name were given him at all 
within Christian circles, it would be much more 
reasonable to assign to it a Christian interpretation, 
and to hold that it was given him for the purity and 
nobility of his Christian character. Such a fact could 
easily be distorted by an apocryphal writer. At any 
rate, the difficulty of believing that such a surname 
as Just was conferred on James either by Jewish 
Christians or by Jews in token of his strict perform 
ance of the requirements enjoined by the Mosaic Law, 
is insurmountable. What kind or mode of life could 
a Christian follow which would procure for him 
renown and admiration among the Jews ? Did James 
keep the Sabbath according to the precepts of the 
elders, notwithstanding our Lord s teaching on the 
subject ? Did he assert that circumcision was the 
first of ordinances, though he believed that man could 
be saved without it ? Was he a champion of Levitical 
purity and an example of Levitical scrupulosity in 


spite of our Lord s teaching and example ? Did he 
proclaim the necessity of observing the different 
feasts, of avoiding blood and mixed marriages, while 
he knew that obedience to the moral will of God was 
the essence of religion ? (cf. Book of Jubilees, passim). 
Why, if he acted in this way, is there not a single 
reference to the requirements of the Law, as thus 
understood, in his letter ? The conclusion cannot be 
resisted that no Christian could possibly so live as to 
be held in the highest honour by the Jews. The gulf 
between them was such as to render this impossible. 
Much more reasonable, therefore, is it to set aside 
testimony which is admittedly not contemporaneous ; 
which probably comes from an apocryphal source; 
which is wholly at variance alike with the spirit and 
even with the letter of Christianity ; which is alien 
to the teaching of James himself ; and which con 
tradicts all that we know of the relations between the 
Jews and the Christians during the later years of James, 
and especially the fact of his martyrdom. 1 

1 Lightfoot, Galatians, 348, accepts the usual interpretation of the 
title Just, and is even disposed to think that the narrative of 
Hegesippus may be substantially true in asserting that his rigid 
life and strict integrity won for him the respect of the whole Jewish 




TT would seem as if the question who were the readers 
-- of the Epistle was easily answered, for its super 
scription runs thus : To the Twelve Tribes in the 
Dispersion. This phrase in its ethnographical sense 
designates the Jewish race beyond the borders of 
Palestine. As the letter is apparently written by a 
Christian to Christians, the conclusion would seem to 
follow that the readers of the Epistle were those Jews 
living beyond the Holy Land who had become con 
verts to Christianity. This is, on the whole, the view 
most widely held ; yet it has frequently been rejected, 
and it is even strongly challenged to-day. The variety 
of opinion still manifesting itself regarding the desti 
nation of the letter is exceedingly great. It is held 
that it is addressed to Jews by birth and by religion ; 
to Jews by birth but Christians by religion ; to 
unbelieving and Christian Jews indiscriminately; to 
Christian Jews exclusively ; to Christian Jews, in- 



eluding Gentile Christians ; to Gentile Christians 

In this strange medley of opinions the only course 
to be followed is to study the letter itself in order to 
determine who the readers were. The first question 
to be settled is, Were the readers Jews by birth ? 
This is the impression created by the address. Is it 
confirmed by the contents of the letter ? The more 
thoroughly these are sifted the more cogent becomes 
the argument in favour of the Jewish nationality of 
the readers. Each argument taken by itself may not 
be conclusive, but viewed as a whole they are irresist 
ible. First of all, many expressions in the letter 
receive in this way their simplest and most natural 
explanation. This is evidently the case with the 
address, To the Twelve Tribes in the Dispersion. 
The phrases the Twelve Tribes and the Dispersion 
are both Jewish in character, and, used in the super 
scription of a letter, are most readily understood in 
their literal sense. The use of the expression 
Synagogue (2 2 ) to denote either the building in 
which the Christians assembled for worship or the 
assembly itself, points in the same direction. And 
this the more, as the author both knows and employs 
the word Church (5 14 ), and could therefore have 
readily availed, himself of it to denote the congrega 
tions of Christian Jews or the buildings in which 
they met. The employment of Synagogue in pre 
ference to Church is most easily accounted for by 
the fact that writer and readers were both Jews. 


The remarkable term adulteresses (4 4 ) applied by 
the writer to his readers would be understood at once 
by Jews, who would recall the language of prophecy, 
according to which the soul was espoused to God, and 
apostasy from Him was adultery. To a Gentile, on 
the other hand, such language would be inexplicable. 
The same conclusion is corroborated by the phrase 
Lord of Sabaoth (5 4 ). This expression is not 
translated, and was therefore presumably understood 
by the readers. Is it conceivable that Gentiles 
would comprehend the force of such an expression ? 
A Gentile conversant with the O.T. might know its 
significance, but such knowledge cannot be presupposed 
in the case of most Gentile readers. The title given 
to Abraham our father (2 21 ) has often been quoted 
as decisive evidence for the Jewish origin of the 
readers. It is possible that this statement, made as 
it is without explanation, does favour the view that 
the readers were Jews. But too much force must 
not be attached to this fact, for Paul in writing to the 
Church of Borne, in which Gentiles probably formed 
the majority, speaks of Abraham as " our forefather 
according to the flesh " (Eo 4 lff -) ; and in writing to 
the undoubtedly Gentile Church of Corinth, describes 
the Israelites who quitted Egypt as ancestors of the 
Corinthian Church (" our fathers were all under the 
cloud," 1 Co 10 1 ). 

To these arguments, drawn from expressions in the 
Epistle, another has been added based on allusions to 
the O.T. It is pointed out that the writer refers to 


Abraham, Kahab, Job, Elijah, and the prophets, and 
it is argued that such instances imply that the readers 
were Jews. But this contention is altogether incon 
clusive. The O.T. was the common possession of all 
Christians, Gentiles as well as Jews. And hence no 
inference as to the nationality of the readers can be 
drawn from O.T. references save under special circum 

There remain other considerations still more 
decisive in favour of the view that the readers were 
Jews. The contents of the letter, alike negative and 
positive, attest that such was its destination. There 
is not a single allusion in the letter to the existence 
of Gentiles ; not a line, not a word suggests that they 
were known to the writer or to his readers. Can this 
silence be explained if the readers were Gentiles ? 
Is it possible to hold that James, had he addressed 
Gentile as well as Jewish readers, would not have 
referred to the sins to which Gentiles were most 
prone ? His purpose throughout is practical. He 
specifies many sins. Why then does he pass over the 
idolatry and the unchastity which were the cardinal sins 
of Gentiles, and against which Paul, for example, con 
tinually seeks to guard his readers ? Again, the writer 
dwells with great detail on the social state and 
relations of his readers. Had these been Gentiles, 
could he have failed to refer to the existence of 
slavery ? While, then, the letter wholly ignores the 
existence of the Gentiles, every chapter and almost 
every verse, on the other hand, can be explained in 


the light of Jewish convictions, usages, circumstances, 
vices, and sins. The unfruitful faith of which 
monotheism is the cardinal article (2 14 - 26 ) is Jewish. 
The evident authority which the Law possesses for 
the readers (2 8ff - 4 llff -) can hardly be understood 
of other than Jews. The sins spoken of avarice, 
undue pursuit of wealth, swearing, religion divorced 
from morality are characteristically Jewish. The 
oaths mentioned (5 12 ) are specifically Jewish. The 
oppression of the poor by the rich (2 6 ) and the 
various references to the social state of the readers 
can be readily explained from the relations existing 
between the Jews and Christians within the syna 
gogue, but hardly in any other way. 

As certain as the result just reached, is the result 
that the readers were Christians. The writer is 
himself a Christian, and describes himself as such, and 
takes for granted throughout the whole letter that 
those to whom he speaks share his beliefs. He calls 
himself a servant of Jesus Christ, and describes his 
readers as his brethren (I 1 I 2 ). The inference that the 
readers were Christians, suggested by these facts, is 
confirmed by some of the incidental expressions that 
fall from his pen. He exhorts his readers not to 
hold faith in Christ the Lord of glory with respect of 
persons (2 1 ). They have been begotten by the word 
of truth (I 18 ). The law by which they are governed 
is a law of liberty (I 25 2 12 ). The name which 
has been pronounced upon them (2 7 ) is evidently 
that of Jesus, a plain allusion to Christian baptism, 


The Second Advent is regarded as near (5 7 ). But 
to prosecute this argument further is superfluous. 
Nothing can be plainer than that the letter is written 
by a Christian to Christians, or, according to the 
conclusions we have now reached, by a Christian Jew 
to Christian Jews. 

But this conclusion is not absolutely incompatible 
with the view that unbelieving Jews, that is, those 
who rejected as well as those who accepted the claims 
of Jesus may be included in the address. According 
to some scholars, one main object of the writer was to 
reach the unbelieving Jews through the believing, and 
the teaching of the letter is accordingly intended at 
least as much for the adherents of Moses as for the 
adherents of Jesus. 

But the letter shows no trace of this distinction of 
its readers into two classes. It is impossible to 
separate what is meant for Christians from what is 
meant for Jews. The assumption of the writer 
throughout is that what he says to one applies to all. 
His readers are to him a homogeneous and not a 
divided body. There is no trace that he regarded 
any of them as holding convictions other than his 
own. Further, is it conceivable that a Christian in 
the position of James would attempt to address in the 
same letter his believing and unbelieving fellow- 
countrymen ? Was such a project likely to be 
entertained by him ? Would he not much rather 
have written separate letters ? He must have known 
that it was impossible for him to speak to his fellow- 


Christians and to his fellow-Jews in the same terms, 
that what would please the one would offend the 
other, that neutrality between them was impossible. 
What purpose would be served by his addressing 
Jews in general ? Of what advantage in doing so 
was it to call himself " a bond slave of the Lord 
Jesus Christ " ? (I 1 ). How could he speak of all Jews 
as possessing the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ ? (2 1 ). 
How could he describe them as having been begotten 
again by the word of God ? (I 18 ). How could he bid 
them wait patiently for the Second Advent? (5 7 ). 
Above all, how could he speak of all Jews as oppressed 
by the rich and dragged before tribunals, and as 
having the honourable name which had been named 
upon them blasphemed ? (2- 7 ). To suppose then, as 
has frequently been done, that James had in view 
Jews as well as Christians, and that, while writing to 
Christians, he is thinking largely or mainly of Jews, 
is to misread the contents of the letter. To hold 
that in one and the same letter he sought to make 
Christians better Christians and Jews better Jews, is 
to ascribe to him a purpose self -contradictory from a 
Christian point of view, a purpose which no sensible 
man would have attempted to execute, and a pur 
pose opposed to the contents of the letter. The alleged 
absence from the letter of specific Christian doctrines 
is not to be explained by the assumption that the 
letter was intended for unbelieving as well as for 
believing Jews. Whatever degree of truth this asser 
tion may contain, the explanation must be sought in 


the temperament and views of the writer, and in the 
circumstances of the readers, but not in their divided 
sentiments touching Jesus. For of such division there 
is absolutely no trace whatever. 

The view, then, that any Jews other than Christian 
were included among the readers of the letter must 
be set aside. Now, may any of the readers have been 
Gentiles, whether heathen or proselytes ? The case 
of proselytes strictly so called need not be discussed, 
as these were universally acknowledged as Jews. 
The instance of Rahab (2 25 ) has been regarded as 
adequate proof of the presence of some men of Gentile 
birth among the readers, who were not in the full 
sense of the term proselytes. Her name serves the 
same end in the case of the Gentile members of the 
communities as Abraham s did in the case of Jewish. 
But no hint is given by James that such was his 
intention in adducing the case of Rahab. The expla 
nation just given for a reference to her is far-fetched. 
If any explanation is needed, and none seems needed, 
why should the most obvious be rejected, namely, that 
the writer follows up an instance of the justification of 
a man by that of a woman ? It is possible that here 
and there Gentiles had been admitted within the 
Christian communities, but of such admission there 
is not the slightest indication, direct or indirect, in the 
letter. While, then, the presence of such Gentiles 
cannot be denied, it certainly cannot be inferred from 
the contents of the Epistle. 

It is now possible to return to the address in order 


to determine its import. The readers, as we have 
seen, are Jews, a fact with which their description as 
the Twelve Tribes is in full harmony. But what is 
the force of the entire address, To the Twelve Tribes 
in the Dispersion ? The expression the Twelve 
Tribes/ as applied to Christians, must denote Christian 
Jews as a whole. But what is to be said regarding 
the further words in the Dispersion ? This title, 
literally understood, designates the Jews in all quarters 
outside of Palestine. Driven forth from their land, 
now by violence, now by the pressure of circumstances, 
and now by the spirit of commerce, the Jews were by 
this time scattered over the world, having settlements 
in its most important countries. They were found in 
large numbers in Mesopotamia, in Syria, in Asia Minor, 
in Egypt, and in Eome. Was the writer thinking of 
his Christian fellow-countrymen and of the communi 
ties they had formed in one or perhaps several of these 
quarters ? This is the apparent sense of his language ; 
must it be rejected ? 

Yes, is the reply, because the phrase the Twelve 
Tribes denotes the Jewish nation in its entirety. 
But the letter is addressed to Christians, and hence 
the words in the Dispersion must indicate the 
fact that the readers were Christians. The Jewish 
nation as a whole was not and could not be in the 
Dispersion. Palestine was always the land of Israel. 
A Christian Jew, then, in addressing the whole of 
his Christian fellow-countrymen must have described 
his readers as Christians, and this description is 


found in the words in the Dispersion. The author 
contrasts the Twelve Tribes whose land is Palestine, 
whose metropolis is Jerusalem, and whose central 
sanctuary is the Temple, with the Twelve Tribes who 
have no earthly land, no earthly metropolis, and no 
earthly temple (Zahn, EM. i. 56). But this construc 
tion of the address is inadmissible. The assertion 
that the phrase the Twelve Tribes in the Dispersion 
is a contradiction in terms cannot be substantiated. 
There is nothing intrinsically absurd in the view that 
Israel beyond the Holy Land should be thus described. 
No evidence can be adduced to show that this expres 
sion had only one fixed sense, and that under all 
circumstances it designated and could only designate 
the entire Jewish race. There is no reason to suppose 
that this language could not be applied to the whole 
Jewish race within the Holy Land or to the whole 
race outside of that land. An Englishman can 
properly speak of all the British outside of the United 
Kingdom, and with equal propriety a Jew could speak 
of the Jews outside of Palestine. The expression 
the Twelve Tribes denoted Jews viewed as a whole, 
but did not necessarily include every Jew. Further, 
how can it be supposed that the words in the Disper 
sion form a description of Christianity ? The term 
Dispersion bears a distinctively geographical sense. 
It was the technical term for Israel outside of 
Palestine. This is its only legitimate sense here, for 
neither on grammatical nor on ethnographical grounds 
is it possible to regard the two descriptions, the 


Twelve Tribes and the Dispersion, as standing in 
apposition to one another. 

But why did the author choose such a mode of 
address to designate his Jewish fellow-Christians ? 
Why does he omit from the address specifically 
Christian terms ? How could he possibly speak of 
his fellow-Christians in the Dispersion as the Twelve 
Tribes in the Dispersion ? There can be but one 
answer to this question. It was because he held that 
Christianity was the true Judaism that he described 
his Jewish fellow-Christians as the only true Jews. 
In his judgment the Christian Church had taken the 
place of the Jewish, though as yet the only Christian 
Church known to him was apparently the Church of 
believing Jews. When speaking of the Twelve Tribes, 
he is using language which is to him literal rather 
than figurative. He is not thinking of expressions 
such as the Israel of God (Gal 6 16 ), or Israel after 
the flesh (1 Co 10 18 ), or of those who are strangers 
and pilgrims on earth (He II 13 ), but of his Jewish 
fellow-Christians who are to him the only true 
Israelites. The Twelve Tribes in the Dispersion are 
to him political or ethnographical designations, and 
not theocratic or religious. For there is nothing to 
suggest that he uses this language in any metaphorical 
sense. Had he so used it, would not the superscrip 
tion have been a hopeless riddle to the great body of 
its readers ? 



TF the Epistle is genuine, it must have been 
J- composed before the year 62, in which James 
was put to death. The persecution in which Stephen 
fell was the principal means of scattering the Jewish 
Christians over the adjacent lands, and was the chief 
cause of the establishment of Jewish Christian 
congregations. The date of the persecution cannot 
be determined with precision, but it was probably 
between 35 and 37. Allowing two or three years 
for the origin and growth of Jewish Christian con 
gregations, twenty years lie open during which the 
Epistle may have been written. By a very few 
scholars the opinion is held that it may have been 
prepared almost at any time during these years. On 
the other hand, nearly all writers contend for one or 
other of two dates. At the present moment most 
scholars favour a date preceding the Apostolic 
Congress, which was probably held about 51. A year 
or two before the death of James is preferred by a 
small number of scholars, including, however, some 
highly distinguished for sagacious and solid judgment. 
What, now, are the arguments upon which those who 


accept the earlier date rely ? It is pointed out 
that the Epistle contains no reference to the presence 
of Gentiles within the Church, and is addressed to 
Jewish Christians in the Dispersion. From the Book 
of Acts it is plain that after Paul s first missionary 
journey, say 49 and 50, there were Christian con 
gregations consisting partly of Jews and partly of 
Gentiles. A letter, then, sent to the Jewish Christians 
in the Dispersion could hardly fail to take notice 
of such mixed congregations. But more than this. 
There broke out, in consequence of the successful 
labours of Paul, a controversy, concerning the rela 
tion of Gentile Christians to the Law of Moses, which 
threatened to rend the Church in twain. A number 
of Christian Jews contended that the Gentiles could 
not be saved unless they submitted to the rite of 
circumcision. This question was decided at a 
Conference held in Jerusalem in 51. The decision 
of the Conference governed the relations between 
Jewish and Gentile Christians in mixed communities. 
But the Epistle contains no reference either to the 
controversy or to the resolutions passed by the Con 
ference. A letter written subsequent to the Congress 
could hardly have failed to notice the question of 
the relation between the two sections of the Church, 
for the subject was continually being agitated, and 
Paul found it necessary to refer to it repeatedly in 
his teaching and letters. Again, it is undeniable 
that, so far as our information extends, Gentile 
Christians soon became the most numerous in the 


congregations of the Dispersion. This appears to have 
been the case in Antioch at a very early date, 
and was undoubtedly the case in all the Churches 
founded by Paul. The existence of purely Jewish 
Churches in certain quarters of the East and West 
can neither be affirmed nor denied. There may have 
been congregations consisting exclusively of Jews in 
some portions of Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Gyrene, 
and Eome. On the other hand, it is not less probable 
that whatever Christian congregations existed in these 
quarters were composed partly of Jews and partly 
of Gentiles. But, however this may have been, no 
writer addressing the entire body of Jewish Christians, 
say in 54, could have overlooked the many mixed 
congregations that had sprung up through the labours 
of Paul. 

These weighty arguments have been supplemented 
by others which, though frequently employed, are 
less convincing. The immaturity of the teaching of 
the letter, its affinity to Judaism, its strongly Jewish 
temper, have been represented as clear indications of 
an early date. But, even though this description 
of the letter were true, the inference as to the time 
of its composition is unfounded. The characteristics 
mentioned could just as readily have been found in 
a writer of the year 60 as of the year 50. Again, 
the simple and indeterminate character of the 
organization of the Churches, as depicted in the Epistle, 
has been dwelt on in the same connection. But the 
absence of any reference to bishops and deacons, the 


mention of elders only, the permission to teach appar 
ently given to all, and the use of the term synagogue, 
are of no avail in determining whether the letter was 
written before or after the Congress at Jerusalem. 

What, now, are the arguments by which this 
evidence for a date prior to the Congress is rejected ? 
It is alleged that the Epistle of James can hardly 
be the earliest letter of the N.T., because the practice 
of writing such Epistles probably began only with 
Paul (Sanday, Inspiration, 345). The majority of 
Christian writers have generally taken for granted 
that the writing of doctrinal epistles was to the first 
generation of Christians a matter of course. But this 
view is arraigned, and it is argued that little or 
nothing can be said for it, and that the practice 
must have originated with Paul the missionary as 
he passed from city to city. He had occasion to 
govern the communities he founded by his letters. 
And the example he set would be rapidly followed. 
But this opinion is purely hypothetical. It cannot 
be proved that Paul was the first to write letters to 
Christian congregations. The same causes that led 
him to write could lead others to write also. The 
practice was not so novel and original that it could 
not have begun with James rather than with Paul. 

The most decisive argument on which reliance is 
put to prove the later date of the Epistle is the 
alleged reference to the teaching of Paul on justi 
fication (c. 2), due to a knowledge of the Epistles 
to the Galatians and Eomans. But it cannot be 


shown that the Epistle presupposes that James had 
read either of these Epistles. This supposition has 
been abandoned by the most thoughtful defenders 
of the later date, because they recognise how incred 
ible it is that James, had he known these letters, 
could have written in the terms he has done. But, 
if James were not acquainted with these letters, is 
it probable that he knew them at second hand, or that 
he had heard of perverted views current in Jewish 
Christian circles based upon these ? This is in the 
highest degree improbable. Had he, then, become 
acquainted in some other way with a distorted version 
of Paul s teaching ? And is it to this he refers ? 
Granting that this is so, the case for the later date 
is not established unless it can be shown that the 
teaching of Paul as to justification only took final 
shape considerably after 51. But this is not only 
incredible in itself, but is shown to be erroneous by 
the circumstance that the Epistle to the Galatians 
may possibly be the earliest of Paul s letters, and 
that it clearly indicates that he had taught justifi 
cation when he first laboured among the Galatians. 
On the supposition that the Epistle to the Galatians 
is the first of Paul s letters, he must have taught 
justification by faith in Galatia on his first missionary 
journey, which took place a year or two before the 
Congress. There is every reason for holding that Paul 
from the outset of his career as a teacher proclaimed 
the doctrine of justification by faith. And if this were 
so, a perverted view of his teaching at Antioch could 


easily have reached James in ample time to allow 
his referring to it in his letter. For the teaching 
of Paul in Antioch preceded by several years the 
probable date of the Epistle of James. 

The view, then, that the Epistle of James must be 
referred to a date shortly before the death of the 
author, because of its reference to the doctrine of 
justification, can only be maintained on the ground 
that either James himself or his informants had read 
the letters to the Galatians and the Eomans, or, at any 
rate, the latter, and that his language is directed either 
against the teaching of Paul or against that teaching 
misunderstood or perverted. The question whether 
he did so is discussed elsewhere, with the result that 
there is no likelihood that James is referring either 
directly or indirectly to Paul s teaching regarding 

Again, it is argued that the condition and wide 
dissemination of the Churches referred to in the 
letter tell in favour of the later date. The Churches 
are in a settled condition, and must, therefore, have 
been formed for some time. But our knowledge of the 
condition of the Churches is of the scantiest kind, 
and we are quite ignorant as to the extent of their 
dissemination. Ten years amply suffice to account 
for the state of the Churches as described in the 
Epistle. Nor is there anything to show that the 
readers had for years been taught Christian doctrines, 
and that their possession of such knowledge is taken 
for granted, and that, consequently, the Churches must 


have existed for a long time. No conclusion can 
be drawn from what is said concerning respect of 
persons. This may have shown itself very early. In 
fact, the briefest interval of time is adequate to 
account for such a practice. Again, it is erroneous 
to speak of the letter as proving that the delay of 
the Second Coming was felt, and that, consequently, 
the Epistle cannot have been written at an early date. 
On the contrary, the belief in the Second Advent is 
strong, and that event is immediately expected. Be 
sides, though complaint had been uttered as to the 
delay of the Advent, this would have been no proof 
of a later date, because the standard by which such 
delay is to be measured is a purely subjective one. 
Equally inconclusive is the inference drawn from the 
political conditions shadowed forth in the Epistle. It 
is impossible to connect these conditions exclusively 
with the years immediately preceding the death of 
James. Anything said in the Epistle regarding 
them is just as applicable to the year 50 as to the 
year 60. 



TS the Epistle, as it lies before us, an original or a 
-*- translation ? There is certainly nothing in the 
language to suggest that the letter was not composed 
in Greek, as it reads from beginning to end like an 
original work. No turn of phrase can be indicated 
which would even favour the opinion that it is a 
translation. How then has it come to pass that 
several scholars have inclined to the view that it was 
written not in Greek but in Aramaic ? In arriving 
at this conclusion they have been influenced mainly 
by two considerations : first, by the probability that 
James would write Jewish Christians in Aramaic 
rather than in Greek ; and, secondly, by the remark 
able character of the diction and vocabulary of the 
letter. It is argued that there is likelihood that 
James composed or dictated the letter in Aramaic. 
This was his own vernacular tongue, and it was 
widely spoken and read. It was used by our Lord ; 
it was employed by Paul when he addressed the 
populace in Jerusalem from the stairs. The Gospel 
of St. Matthew, according to an early tradition, was 
composed in it. Mark and Glaucias are early 



described as interpreters of Peter, that is, probably 
as those who translated his Aramaic into Greek ; 
and Josephus wrote his Wars of the Jews in Aramaic, 
and afterwards translated it into Greek with some 
help. On these grounds James, it is argued, would 
almost certainly write to his Christian fellow-country 
men in Aramaic. 

But these considerations are of little value. It 
is true that James doubtless spoke the vernacular 
of Palestine as our Lord and Paul did. But as our 
Lord could speak Greek, why should not James have 
done so too ? Whether Matthew wrote a gospel in 
Aramaic or not may be left undecided, but as a 
tax-gatherer he must almost certainly have spoken 
and written Greek as well as Aramaic ; and the 
Gospel bearing his name presents no evidence of 
being a translation. To suppose that Peter needed 
an interpreter because of his imperfect acquaintance 
with Greek is absurd, as the proofs of his knowledge 
of that language superabound. Those scholars who 
hold that the language referred to is Latin and not 
Greek can make out a better case, but the interpreta 
tion spoken of is probably not that of translation but 
of communication, Mark and Glaucias being the 
organs or vehicles of the memories and views of 
Peter. The action of Josephus merely illustrates what 
was done by a writer who composed with the Eastern 
Dispersion in his eye. At the highest these instances 
but serve to show that the Epistle might have been 
written in the vernacular, but create no presumption 


that it was so written. Against it must be set the 
fact that the Epistle to the Hebrews is written in 
Greek. This, too, is the case with the Epistle of 
Jude and with the two Epistles of Peter. The 
Epistle to the Hebrews is addressed to Jews, and is 
thus akin to the Epistle of James ; and the other 
Epistles just named, even if addressed to Gentiles, 
are the product of so-called Jewish Christians. Are 
all these letters translations ? If the scholars who 
espouse the opinion that the letter is a translation 
had succeeded in showing that James could not write 
Greek, or that it is altogether unlikely that he 
would write in Greek to the audience he addressed, 
their reasons would be convincing. But no such 
endeavours can be made with success. The fuller 
our knowledge of the Holy Land in the first century, 
the stronger becomes the conviction that men in the 
position of our Lord s Apostles were able to acquire 
the power of both speaking and writing Greek. 
Further, if the Epistle was written before the Con 
ference in Jerusalem to Churches composed largely 
of Jews and found chiefly in Syria, there is, to say 
the least, as great a probability that James would 
write in Greek as in Aramaic, for the Christian Jews 
in Antioch and elsewhere in Syria were doubtless as 
familiar with Greek as with Aramaic. Nor is this 
result affected, even on the assumption that James 
had in mind also the Christian Jews within the 
Persian empire. Had he written for them exclu 
sively, he might, as Josephus did afterwards, have 


written in Aramaic. But, as he was addressing all 
Jews outside of Palestine, he naturally availed him 
self of the literary and commercial language of the 
world, a language doubtless more or less familiar to 
most Jews, and which might indeed be described as 
the vernacular of the Western Dispersion. It is then 
obvious that the cases adduced do not even establish a 
slight probability that James would write in Aramaic. 
They are partly inaccurate and partly irrelevant, while 
on the other side are considerations of no little weight. 

But it is alleged that the Greek of the Epistle is 
such as James could not readily have written (Words 
worth, Stud. Bill. i. 148). Its vocabulary is Hellenic. 
It contains no fewer than forty-nine words which 
occur in it only in the New Testament, of which 
thirteen are apparently used for the first time by 
James. The Epistle seems the writing of a scholar who 
had a wide knowledge of classical Greek. Would an 
unlearned Jew be able to exhibit such a command of 
words ? How much more probable that the selection 
is due to a professional translator ! 

Our knowledge, however, of the Greek which James 
wrote and spoke is too scanty to allow us to distinguish 
between it and the language known to us through the 
classics. There is no reason to believe that James 
used other than the vocabulary of his age. That he 
acquired the rare and special words he employs from 
a laborious study of Greek literature and philosophy 
is in the highest degree improbable, for such were not 
likely to be the pursuits of the chief member of the 


Church of Jerusalem. The hypothesis that he em 
ployed a translator to put his thoughts into Greek is 
far more probable than the hypothesis that he spent 
much of his time in mastering the Greek language and 

But does the Epistle bear any mark of being a 
translation ? If it is a translation, it is one of unusual 
excellence. There are no phrases or constructions in 
it which need to be explained by the original Aramaic. 
The keenest eye can detect nothing which might not 
be conceived and expressed by a Jew conversant with 
Greek. Is there any example of a translation like 
this in New Testament times ? Can any version of 
an ancient author be produced which equals this ? Is 
there any parallel between it and the versions of the 
LXX ? The language is simple, direct, forcible, and 
in fullest harmony with the thoughts. Yet the spirit 
and the forms of the letter are Jewish. It has come 
from the brain and pen of a Jew, for none but a Jew 
would have employed such phrases as " the shadow 
cast by turning" (I 17 ); "the face of truth" (I 23 ); 
"judges of evil thoughts " (2 4 ); "adulteresses" (4 4 ) ; 
" the Lord of Sabaoth " (5 4 ). A translator would hardly 
have allowed such expressions to remain. But the 
most decisive argument against its being a transla 
tion is to be found in the play on words, the repeti 
tions, the illustrations, of which it is full. Who can 
suppose, for example, that the use of ^aipelv (I 1 ) and 
the evident allusion to it in I 2 (x^P av ) are due to a 
translator ? Further, if James wrote in Aramaic, why 


should the original have left not a trace behind ? 
Why should not the Syriac translation have been made 
from it and not from the Greek version ? (For 
Hebraisms in James, see Simcox, Language of the New 
Testament, 62.) 



THOSE who maintain the view that the Epistle 
of James is perhaps the earliest of the N.T. 
writings, are at once confronted with the question 
whether Paul had read the Epistle of James, and 
whether in his writings he takes notice of the teaching 
of that Epistle. These two questions are related, but 
should be kept distinct. It is possible that Paul was 
familiar with the Epistle of James and yet made no 
use of it. It is equally possible that he was un 
acquainted with it, but was familiar with the type of 
teaching which it represents, and that he has this type 
of teaching in his mind when addressing the Galatians 
and the Eomans. 

Is it then the case that Paul had read the Epistle 
of James ? This question is answered in the affirma 
tive by many of those scholars who believe that the 
Epistle of James is the first of the N.T. letters. 
Holding that the Epistle was written about the year 
50, and the Epistles to the Galatians and Eomans 
several years after, they argue that nothing is easier 
than to believe that Paul had obtained a copy of the 



letter of James and was therefore familiar with its 
contents. They assert that it is altogether improb 
able that he should have remained ignorant of so 
important an event as the publication of a letter by 
James, perhaps the first of all similar writings, and that 
he would naturally desire to possess a copy. That it 
was quite possible for Paul to become acquainted with 
the Epistle of James, can hardly be doubted. But the 
question is not whether Paul could have known the 
Epistle of James but whether that knowledge can be 
proved. Does an examination of his writings, and 
more particularly of the Epistle to the Eomans, make 
it probable that the coincidences between the Epistles 
are due to his recollection of the letter of James. 

Very full lists of resemblances between the writings 
of Paul and the Epistle of James have been drawn up 
by several scholars within the last few years. Of 
these perhaps the most exhaustive is that contained 
in the Commentary of Mayor. It is not necessary, 
however, to go over this or any similar list in order 
to determine whether there is literary dependence 
on the side of Paul or not. Such a question is easily 
settled by a consideration of the closest resemblances. 
There are two passages which by general consent are 
allowed to be most akin to one another. These are 
Ja I 2 - 4 and Ko 5 3 ~ 5 , Ja 4 1 and Eo 7 23 . Is it then 
the case that Paul could only have written these pas 
sages from a knowledge of the corresponding passages 
in the Epistle of James ? It has been argued that 
Paul s use of the term tribulation Oxi? is a 


correct interpretation of James SoKifjuiov and that con 
sequently Paul had read his letter. But, even though 
the assertion made were correct, the conclusion would 
not follow. It would have been easy for Paul to write 
as he has done without ever having seen the Epistle of 
James. Besides, the language of Paul is much more 
general than that of James, and affords no evidence that 
it was suggested by that of James. The possibility of 
its being so must, of course, be conceded, but it cannot 
for a moment be granted that any proof of this fact has 
been given. The language of Paul may just as easily 
be independent. For it should be observed that each 
writer pursues his own line of thought. That of Paul 
is quite as original and distinctive as that of James. 
Paul in no sense imitates James. To allege that Paul 
sets himself to explain how the patience of which James 
speaks has its perfect work, is to make an assertion 
unwarranted by the evidence. It is far from certain 
that he shows how patience has its perfect work. 
Clearly he follows his own line of thought without any 
reference to that taken by James. Again, the sugges 
tion has been made that Paul s SOW/AT) (probation) is an 
echo of James ^OKL^IOV (what is genuine). 1 It is barely 
possible that the one phrase may have suggested the 
other, but a possibility differs very widely from a 
proof. So far, then, as this first passage is concerned, 
the dependence of Paul on James is certainly not 
made out. 

It is the same with the second alleged instance of 

1 Cp. Deissmann, Bible Studies, 260. 


dependence. Here the expressions " pleasures that 
war in your members " and " law in my members 
warring against the law in my mind " are undoubtedly 
similar. But the differences are as great as the 
resemblances. Unquestionable evidence of relationship 
there is none. The terms used are neither so original 
nor so rare as to evince that Paul must have derived 
them from James. But not only are the terms com 
paratively common. The metaphor is one that could 
readily occur independently to two writers. 

As these two passages have failed to establish a 
literary connection between the Epistles, it is un 
necessary to pursue the argument further. There are 
not a few more or less distant resemblances between 
the letters. But this cumulative argument is of no 
weight unless some actual instances of dependence can 
be established. This, as we have seen, cannot be done. 
None, in fact, of the usual proofs of literary dependence 
are found in the two Epistles. There are no unique 
or unusual expressions which the one writer must 
necessarily have taken from the other. Nor are 
similar arguments used, nor the same order of thought 
followed, nor any O.T. passage quoted with the same 
variations from the current text. 

It may, then, be taken for granted that it cannot 
be shown that Paul has made use in any of his 
Epistles of that of James. This does not, however, 
imply that he was not acquainted with the letter. 
He may have read, and even have known it thoroughly, 
and yet have made no use of it. It is even possible that 


it may have suggested some of his phraseology. But 
this must remain a mere hypothesis and nothing more. 
We now pass to the consideration of the question 
whether Paul writes with conscious reference to 
the teaching on justification by works contained in 
the Epistle of James. Here the principal passage 
is Eo 4 1 - 3 : "What then shall we say that 
Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, hath 
found ? For if Abraham was justified by works, he 
hath whereof to glory ; but not toward God. For 
what saith the Scripture ? And Abraham believed 
God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness." 
It is alleged (Zahn, Einl i. 90, 94) that Paul when 
writing these words had the assertion of James in 
his mind that Abraham was justified by works (2 21 ). 
Paul, it is affirmed, introduces this statement as if 
made by some other person. This assertion is without 
warrant. But, even though it were true, it would 
not follow that the person referred to was James, for 
the statement as it stands was not made by James. 
There is not the slightest evidence that Paul is here 
writing with the teaching of James in view. It is 
acknowledged that Paul does not controvert the 
statement of James, but the evidence that he con 
troverts it is just as strong as the evidence that he 
qualifies it. The evidence that suffices to show that 
James is here dealing directly or indirectly with the 
teaching of Paul would also suffice to show that he 
is assailing that teaching. No reader of the passage 
in Eomans can find there any allusion to the view of 



James, much less evidence that the readers of the 
Epistle were acquainted with the author of the 
doctrine referred to, and with the high estimation in 
which he was held. Who can believe that readers 
in Kome detected any allusion to the teaching of 
James ? Do even independent readers to-day find 
any such allusion ? Had Paul regarded the views of 
James as defective or erroneous, would he not have 
said so ? Would he not have mentioned his name, 
and specified what he considered to be imperfect or 
wrong ? Why should he, to all appearance, deliber 
ately contradict the assertion that a man is justified 
by works ? Why should he assert that a man is 
justified by faith ? Surely Paul was too brave and 
manly not to express his dissent from the views of 
James, had he really differed from him. If he 
believed that there was no difference between them, 
he would hardly have employed language seemingly 
contradictory without some explanation. A clause 
or a sentence would have made it plain to every 
reader that James and he were at one. Could Paul, 
with his delicate sense of what was fitting and with 
his passionate devotion to the unity of the Church, 
have failed to do what a man of ordinary sagacity 
and prudence would unquestionably have done ? 

The point of time at which James and Paul formed 
their conclusions regarding the nature of justification 
cannot be determined. It is possible that Paul had 
formulated his view of justification by faith and James 
his of justification by works when they first met. 


It may even have been that the conversation between 
them turned on this question of doctrine. But this 
is a mere surmise. Still, there is not the slightest 
improbability in the hypothesis that Paul may have 
become acquainted from the lips of James himself 
with his view that justification was of works. But 
it is just as possible that he did not know James 
opinion on the subject, and that his letters to the 
Galatians and Eomans were written in perfect inde 
pendence of this knowledge. Further, Paul could 
have written as he has done, even though he were 
acquainted with James letter. He would have no 
difficulty in recognising that the truth there enforced 
as to the nullity of faith without works is undeniable. 
The manner in which that truth is stated by James 
was different from that in which he would have stated 
it ; but as to the truth itself they were at one. Even 
on the assumption that Paul was perfectly familiar 
with the assertion of James that a dead faith did not 
justify, but that faith had to be perfected by works, 
it is not in the least certain that he would have found 
himself under the necessity of challenging such a 
mode of statement. Aware that James and he were 
united in their condemnation of a fruitless faith, he 
could quite well expound his own view without any 
reference to that of James. Only on the supposition 
that James held that a man was justified by works, 
in precisely the same sense in which he himself held 
that he was justified by faith, would it have been 
imperative upon him to refer to the teaching of 


James. Under such circumstances he would undoubt 
edly have done so, and in such a way as to make the 
person from whom he differed and the teaching to 
which he was opposed unmistakable. The fact that 
his teaching is not essentially at variance with that 
of James shows how improbable it is that he had 
that teaching in view when writing either to the 
Galatians or to the Romans. What occupied his 
mind was not justification by works as conceived by 
James, but justification by works as conceived by his 
Judaistic opponents, namely, justification resting on 
the acceptance of the Mosaic Law, including circum 
cision, as a rule of life, and an obedience thereto as 
the condition of salvation. Nor can it be shown that 
it was in the least necessary for Paul in writing to 
the Churches of Galatia or to the Church of Borne to 
refer in the slightest to the teaching of James, for 
that teaching, even on the supposition that it was 
erroneous, was not the form of error against which 
these Churches needed then to be put on their guard. 
The conclusion just reached is not accepted by 
some writers. It is alleged (Mayor, 89) that Paul 
distinctly controverts the arguments of James as 
liable to be misapplied. The statement of James, 
" Faith apart from works is barren," is directly 
contradicted by the assertion, " We reckon that a man 
is justified by faith apart from works of the law " 
(Ho 3 28 ). But such a contradiction as this is 
fatal to the unity of sentiment between James and 
Paul. It is hardly conceivable that Paul could have 


expressed himself thus in more or less direct antagon 
ism to James. Was Paul so lacking in insight as not 
to perceive the substantial identity of view between 
James and himself, or was he so wanting in 
command of language as to be unable to make 
that identity plain, without as it were directly 
traversing the assertion of James ? To maintain 
that Paul challenges the phrase of James by 
a direct contradiction (Mayor, 89), and that yet 
they agree generally in their conclusions, is to 
attempt to combine two irreconcilable positions. It 
is not credible that Paul could have written as he 
has done, with direct reference to the teaching 
of James, without introducing some terms of 
explanation or qualification. 

Again, James had asserted that Abraham was 
justified by works ; St. Paul affirms that he cannot 
have been thus justified, because otherwise he would 
have had a ground for boasting, but that such a 
ground is inconsistent with the fact that his faith 
was reckoned for righteousness. Here, again, to 
suppose that Paul has James in view is to become 
involved in endless perplexities. Why should Paul 
deal with a subject foreign to him ? His intention 
was to prove that obedience to the works of the Law 
was not the ground of justification. This assertion is 
nowhere made by James. Why then should Paul 
have virtually attributed it to him ? It is true that 
both writers deal with the question of the justi 
fication of Abraham by works, the one affirming 


and the other denying it. But, to use the technical 
language of philosophy, they are not dealing with 
the same matter. The line of action (Mayor, 90) 
attributed to Paul is hardly conceivable in the case 
of so original and sagacious a thinker, is refuted 
by the proper explanation of his language, and 
is, indeed, almost self-contradictory. 

If Paul, then, is not directly or indirectly dependent 
upon James, may not James, on the other hand, exhibit 
both literary and theological dependence upon Paul ? 
This view has been widely held alike by those who 
accept and by those who reject the authenticity of 
the letter. 

The attempt has been made (Holtzmann, EM. 335) 
to demonstrate that the Epistle of James is closely 
related to the letters of Paul, and that its ideas and 
language are derived from these. The terminology 
of Paul is alleged to prevail in the letter, and refer 
ence is made in this connection to such phrases as 
"justification by faith and works," "the righteousness 
of God," " to fulfil the Law " ; to the union of the 
conceptions inheritance and Kingdom, and so 
forth. It has, moreover, been confidently affirmed 
(Holtzmann, NT Th. ii. 341) that the force of the 
proof drawn from the identity of the Biblical illustra 
tions used by Paul and James cannot be invalidated. 
The example of Abraham was, indeed, often appealed 
to, and a connection was even established between 
the text, Gn 15 6 , and the sacrifice of Isaac, as is 
plain from 1 Mac 2 52 : "Was not Abraham found 


faithful in temptation, and it was reckoned unto him 
for righteousness ? " The question of Abraham s 
justification was, in fact, frequently debated in the 
Jewish schools, but this cannot account for the 
manner in which James quotes from the O.T. He 
seeks to prove justification by works from a text 
which speaks only of justification by faith, and 
achieves this result by prefixing to it another text, 
Gn 22 9 , which speaks of the sacrifice of Isaac, and is 
thus able to force on the original text a meaning 
foreign to it. That the line of proof followed by 
James is peculiar strikes every attentive reader, but 
the conclusion drawn by such a reader is the very 
opposite of that just stated. What a simpleton James 
was to proceed as he did ! Why did he not simply 
omit the reference to the faith of Abraham ? He 
was under no compulsion to cite the text. The fact 
that Paul had made use of it was no reason why 
he should also make use of it. The mode of argu 
mentation followed by James is the clearest sign of 
his independence. To argue that he had no choice 
but to quote the text, seeing that Paul had already 
quoted it as a proof of righteousness by faith, is 
absurd. He could easily have passed it by. James 
regarded the instance of Abraham as an undoubted 
confirmation of his own view, taking it for granted 
that his was a case of justification by works. How 
could he have done so had he been dealing with Paul s 
view in Eo 4 2 ? But there is no proof that Paul 
was the first to formulate either the phrase " justifica- 


tion by faith" or the phrase "justification by works." 
Just as little is the expression " the righteousness of 
God" peculiar to him. The phrase, to begin with, 
probably comes from our Lord Himself (Mt 6 1 ), and, 
what is most important, is not used by James in the 
sense in which it is used by Paul. The expression 
" to fulfil the Law " is in no sense characteristic of 
Paul, and is, in fact, employed only in a special sense 
in Bo 2 27 . The union of the terms inheritance 
and kingdom is not Paul s but Christ s (Mt 25 34 ). 
To discuss the dependence of James on Paul s letters 
generally, and, more particularly, on Galatians and 
Kornans, is, after the result already arrived at, 
superfluous. The evidence is such as to allow of no 
conclusion being formed on purely literary grounds. 
So far as these are concerned, James might have 
written before Paul or Paul before James. 

But does the manner in which James deals with 
the doctrine of justification make it certain that 
Paul s letters must have preceded his ? Unless it 
can be shown that Paul was the first to raise the 
question of the nature of justification, whether by 
faith or by works, the priority of Paul cannot be 
maintained. But if James had even read and 
possessed the Epistles of Paul, it by no means follows 
that he would have assailed Paul s teaching. If he 
had really meant to oppose that teaching, why should 
he have been silent regarding the source from which 
it came ? The personal courage, the devotion to 
truth, the sense of authority with which James speaks, 


are undoubted. Such a man could scarcely have 
omitted to name the author of the views which he 
condemned without laying himself open to misconcep 
tion. It is hardly credible that James could have 
really differed from Paul on the question of justifica 
tion and sought to substitute another view for his, 
without indicating his dissent in plain words. 

Nor is there the slightest reason for believing that 
the views of Paul and James were actually different, 
for Paul himself vouches for their substantial identity. 
No other interpretation can be put upon the account 
given by Paul himself regarding the negotiations that 
preceded the decision of the Congress. Paul states 
that he explained to James the nature of the gospel 
which he preached, and that James raised no objection 
to it. It is hardly probable that the doctrine of 
gratuitous forgiveness through the free grace of God, 
namely, justification by faith, was absent from the 
statement ; and hence there is the highest probability 
that Paul and James were of one mind on the point. 
Further, the views assailed by James are not Paul s, 
but are utterly opposed to his. All that is most 
characteristic of his teaching is absent. Even the 
language in which it is clothed is not purely repro 
duced. Paul would have repudiated instantly and 
absolutely the views assailed quite as much as James 
himself, and would have described them as a caricature 
of his teaching. 

On these grounds it is exceedingly improbable that 
James deals with Paul s doctrine directly. It is 


equally improbable that he deals with it indirectly. 
It has been urged that he had before him a perversion 
or distortion of Paul s view, and that he had heard 
that immoral consequences were drawn from this 
view ; that men believed themselves to be at liberty 
to live as they pleased ; and hence set himself to 
correct it. But, if James was aware that the opinion 
he condemned was a perversion or distortion of Paul s 
view, would he not have been careful to discriminate 
between his real view and its alleged perversion ? 
Was such a line of action not imperative upon him 
under the circumstances ? In the interests of Chris 
tianity, was it not desirable that a misconception of 
one of the most characteristic articles of the Christian 
creed should be corrected ? And how could this be 
so well done as by a simple statement of what the 
article really was ? Again, if James had had Paul s 
letters before him, would he have written as he has 
actually done ? Would he have referred to Abraham s 
example as an instance of justification by works and 
not by faith ? Would he have contrasted works and 
faith as he does ? It is scarcely credible that with 
Paul s letters before him he would have treated any 
perversion or misunderstanding of his teaching 
in the language which he actually uses. Again, is 
there the slightest likelihood that Paul s views 
would be known and perverted in Jewish Christian 
circles ? Was Paul s authority as a teacher 
acknowledged there ? On the contrary, is it not 
certain that his influence in such circles was 


slight ? The extent of his authority among his 
believing fellow-countrymen is, to say the least, 
disputable. Besides, was justification by faith a 
tenet likely to be eagerly embraced in such circles ? 
Was it likely to dislodge the tenet of justification by 
works ? Was it more likely that a Christian Jew 
would depend for justification on his faith in Jesus 
than on his fidelity to the Law ? 



HIKE sense of the term justify in the Epistle 
* hardly admits of doubt. It means, as elsewhere 
both in the Old and New Testaments, to pronounce 
righteous. It denotes the verdict of a judge. That 
this is the force of the term is proved by over 
whelming evidence. No instance in which it bears 
the sense to make just can be produced either from 
the Old Testament or from the New, or even from 
classical literature. James, then, simply used a term 
which was widely current, and only in its ordinary 
signification, when he employed justify to denote 
the verdict of God upon a man s conduct. But, 
granting that the term is used in a forensic sense, 
must it necessarily mean, and mean only, a decision 
of God ? May it not be used in the sense to prove 
righteous, or even to bring into a right moral relation 
with God ? The latter view is excluded by the proper 
meaning of the term, for it is impossible to reconcile 
this interpretation with the current usage of the word 
in a forensic sense, since to put into a right moral rela 
tion is to make and not to declare righteous. There are 
passages in which the rendering to prove righteous 



may be employed. But this sense is inadmissible in 
James, for the text shows that he is thinking through 
out of a judgment on the part of God. The 
connection between salvation (2 14 ) and justification is 
evidently close ; the one term is practically equivalent 
to the other. Accordingly the justification spoken 
of must refer to the decision of God. 

The term justify in itself conveys no information 
as to the moral character of the person concerned. 
It does not assert that he is righteous of himself, it 
merely affirms that he is treated as such. The O.T. 
speaks repeatedly of the justification of the righteous, 
meaning of those who actually are such. The same 
usage is found in the N.T. when our Lord in Matthew 
12 37 speaks of a man as justified by his words. 

Even Paul himself " The doers of the law shall 
be justified" (Eo 2 13 ) ; "Yet am not I hereby 
justified" (1 Co 4 4 ) employs the term to denote true 
righteousness. Whether, then, justification denotes 
the acquittal of a guilty person or the approbation 
of a righteous person, can be learned only from the 

What now are the propositions which James 
advances touching justification ? Negatively, he 
affirms that a man is not justified by faith only. 
Positively, he asserts that a man is justified by works. 
The most exact representation of his view is probably 
that which sees justification in a combination of faith 
and works. Faith alone cannot justify, for such a 
faith is morally unfruitful. But works justify, because 


through them faith is perfected. The works which 
justify are, of course, Christian works. Only the man 
who lives an obedient life is justified according to 
James, and he is justified in view of his obedience. 

James does not specify the precise stage at which 
the Christian is justified. Christian faith being to 
him imperfect until embodied in works, justification 
cannot be contemporaneous with the origin of faith. 
Whether James would have allowed that God pro 
nounces a man just in view of his first deed of faith, 
or whether he held that only when faith had become 
a habit justification took place, is not clear. It is 
plain that he regarded faith as the source of Christian 
obedience. But at what point of time it became such 
is uncertain. He may have held that the first act of 
obedience rendered faith vital, but he may not have 
connected justification with this act. That he regarded 
justification, however, as falling within the lifetime of 
the individual, is plain from the instances which 
he quotes. Abraham and Eahab were pronounced 
righteous while in life. Accordingly, it is improper 
to refer the justification of which he writes to the final 
judgment (Huther, James) or even to the end of life. 
James is obviously speaking of an experience which 
fell to Abraham and Kahab during their lifetime. This 
experience cannot be identified with the final divine 
judgment. To describe justification as " that judgment 
of complacency which God forms to Himself, about the 
life of a pious man spent in His sight, on which He 
will in His own time pass His final decision" (Beyschlag, 


NT Theol 365), is an attempt to combine incom 
patible views, because making the decision at once past 
and future. The decision refers to the past only. 

But what now is to be said regarding the moral 
character of the person justified ? That character is 
not described by James. His language, however, 
suggests that he is speaking of a man truly righteous, 
and of him only. The man who is justified is a man 
who has done the will of God, and who is therefore 
truly righteous. In speaking thus, James is simply 
stating a self-evident truth, which finds recognition 
throughout the entire JST.T. He is but affirming that, 
until a man is recognised by God to be truly good, he 
is not justified. Not those who profess goodness, but 
those who are good, are accepted by God. 

Does this view of James exclude the doctrine that 
justification is of grace ? Is it inconsistent with the 
opinion that salvation is of grace ? It should be 
observed that James nowhere says that a man must 
be perfectly righteous. What he contends for is that 
a man must be truly righteous. His religion must 
consist not in profession merely, but in obedience. He 
cannot have meant that only the absolutely perfect 
man is justified, for he knows that all men err 
(3 2 ), and that all need to confess their sins one to 
another (5 16 ). Forgiveness is needed by all Christians 
(5 15 * 16 ). Consequently James cannot have identified 
the works which he requires for justification with 
perfect submission and obedience to the will of God. 
Grace in the sense of pardon is therefore needed even 


in the case of the man who is pronounced righteous 
because of his works. 

Not only so. James nowhere asserts that a man s 
works alone are the ground on which he is justified. So 
far as justification consists merely in the declaration of 
what he is, works may be said to be the basis of the 
verdict. But nowhere does James say that a man s 
salvation is due to his obedience, or that his power to 
obey is self-derived. The judgment of God contem 
plated by James, according to which a man is pro 
nounced righteous, is not purely analytic ; it is rather 
synthetic, for the righteousness spoken of is the 
righteousness of sincerity and reality, not of perfection. 
Consequently there is with James as ample a sphere 
for grace as with Paul. To James not less than to 
Paul justification and salvation are of grace. To be 
justified by works is not inconsistent with being 
justified by grace. Justification, with James springing 
from faith perfected by works, presupposes grace just 
as justification springing from faith with Paul. Justi 
fication with Paul may be spoken of as the justification 
of the unrighteous, and justification with James as the 
justification of the righteous ; but both these expres 
sions require to be carefully defined and explained. 
The unrighteous man who is justified according to 
Paul has within him a living principle of righteousness. 
The righteous man who is justified according to James 
is simply the same man with that principle matured 
and confirmed by works. 



IT has frequently been asserted that the question of 
justification by faith or by works was discussed 
in the Jewish schools of our Lord s time. 1 But no 
use of the phrase " justification by faith " has been 
produced prior to the N.T. That justification was 
often discussed is certain. That the example of 
Abraham was frequently referred to is also certain ; 
but that the question was ever raised whether Abraham 
was justified by faith or by works is altogether 
uncertain. Our ignorance of the topics debated within 
the schools does not permit us to assert that it was 
not discussed, but it equally prevents us from affirming 
that it was so discussed. 

Yet, granting that it was not discussed, it is not 
necessary to hold, as has generally been done, that 
Paul must have been the first to speak of justification 
by faith. It is extravagance to declare that the 
discussion of such a topic is inconceivable before Paul. 
Was not James as capable of originating such a 
discussion as Paul ? The term justification was 

1 Even Dean Farrar, Early Christianity, maintains this view. 


common property ; so, too, was the term faith. Why, 
then, if James found that some men contended that 
their intellectual orthodoxy was the evidence and 
guarantee of their salvation, should he not have 
declared this view to be unsound, and have maintained 
that not by belief, but by obedience was a man saved ? 
If he was aware that there were those who declared 
that a man was justified by his faith, what more 
natural than that James should formulate his own 
conviction in the proposition that a man is justified by 
works ? No high degree of intellectual power, such 
as that possessed by Paul, is required in order to 
oppose justification by works to justification by faith. 
James treats the subject throughout from a practical 
standpoint. He is thinking mainly, if not exclusively, 
of Christian life and conduct. He rejected the pro 
position that a man was saved by faith simply because 
of its inconsistency with the facts of Christian ex 
perience. Words cannot justify ; deeds alone justify. 
Profession is not practice ; obedience alone saves. 
These propositions, which commend themselves to the 
judgment of all practical men, are the propositions 
which James affirmed. 

It should be observed that James nowhere speaks of 
the proposition which he is refuting as taught or held 
by any teachers. Nothing in his language suggests that 
it was a doctrine seriously entertained by earnest and 
obedient Christians. His whole method of treatment 
proceeds on the opinion that the tenet was morally 
unsound and unfruitful. James has instances in his 


eye in which men are trusting for salvation to the 
orthodoxy of their beliefs, and not to the purity of 
their lives. 

Further, may it not be suggested that James 
method of dealing with the subject shows that the 
theme is novel and perplexing ? Had the question 
been one discussed speculatively in the Christian com 
munity above all, had Paul s view of justification by 
faith been already known, is it conceivable that James 
would have argued as he does ? Is it not plain that 
he finds himself in a position of much difficulty ? He 
allows that a dead faith is in a sense faith. How then 
can faith save ? This proposition he had probably 
inherited from Judaism, and as a Christian he must 
have accepted it from the first. For faith was con 
stantly on the lips of Jesus as the condition of salva 
tion. How then did it stand related to justification ? 
Only when it ceased to be a mere assertion and 
became a living power. This transition could be 
effected only through the mediation of works. In this 
way James solved the difficulty by which he was 
confronted. Had he known Paul s writings, his 
laboured argumentation would scarcely have been 
requisite. All that he needed to do was to refuse the 
function of justification to such a faith as he had 
described, to deny it even to be faith. He might 
indeed have acted in this way independently of Paul. 
But had he known Paul s teaching, there is a likeli 
hood that he would have done so. 



fTlHE section on Justification by Works (2 14 - 26 ) 
stands in close connection with the preceding 
section. In the first verse of the chapter James 
exhorts his readers not to hold faith in Christ along 
with respect of persons. He was aware, however, 
that there were those among them who were satisfied 
with their possession of faith, believing that this 
would obtain for them salvation. They held that 
their faith, though not united to a corresponding 
Christian life, would save them. The object of their 
faith is not stated by James ; but that it was in their 
judgment specifically Christian cannot be questioned. 
They may have believed in Jesus as the Messiah, the 
King and Judge of men, and even as their Kedeemer. 
But, whatever the contents of their faith, they held that 
faith in itself, even though unaccompanied by a moral 
life, procured eternal salvation. This is the view 
which James sets himself to refute. In vv. 14 17 he 
states clearly the position he maintains. Faith cannot 
possibly save apart from works, that is, apart from 
a Christian moral life. "What profit is there," he 
asks, " if a man say he has faith, but have not works ? 



Can faith save him ? " And he illustrates his view of 
its inability to do so by comparing such a faith to 
the action of a man who dismisses a naked or starving 
brother or sister from his door with the pious wish 
that they may be warmed and fed, but who does 
nothing to relieve their wants. So is it with faith 
unaccompanied by works. It is dead of itself. 
James does not speak here of simulated or pretended 
faith. He does not deny faith to those whose 
opinions he condemns. They have faith in a sense, 
even Christian faith. But this Christian faith cannot 
of itself save, simply because it is dead. The salvation 
spoken of is ordinary Christian salvation, and the 
primary reference is probably to the last judgment. 
Faith destitute of works will then prove unavailing. 
If it is to save, it must be accompanied by works, 
and this term plainly denotes the life that corresponds 
to Christian faith. It had possibly acquired a fixed 
sense, descriptive of the virtues belonging to the 
Christian. Its essence was the Law as conceived and 
expounded by Jesus. A faith separate from works 
is as incapable of saving as beneficence in words is of 
feeding and clothing the poor. A faith without works 
is dead ; it is as a body without a soul. It is not only 
dead as regards the effects which it produces on others ; 
it is dead in itself. How can such faith save ? 

The position thus asserted is still further devel 
oped in vv. 18 - 20 where it is shown that faith can be 
evidenced only by works, and that faith without 
works is fruitless. To make this plain, James intro- 


duces a man holding views similar to his own, who, 
addressing a man whose confidence in salvation rests 
on faith, says : " You have faith, and I have works : 
show me thy faith apart from works, and I will show 
thee my faith by works. Thou believest that God 
is one. The demons also believe, and shudder." The 
reality of faith, James contends, can be attested only 
by works. Thus only can its existence be made good. 
The mere assertion that it exists does not prove that 
existence. Its existence, if it is to be proved, can be 
proved only by works. But this is not all. Faith 
may exist, and yet its fruit be not salvation but 
condemnation. The fundamental article of all true 
religion is monotheism. There is but one God. But 
this belief does not save. It is held by the demons, 
who shudder in view of the judgment to come. 

There is no reason to suppose, from the illustration 
which James here puts into the lips of the speaker, 
that the tenet of the unity of God was specially 
insisted on by those who sought salvation by faith. 
The faith on which they relied was to them Christian 
in name and contents. It was no mere intellectual 
belief in the unity of God, nor was it mere confidence 
in God or in the Messiah and His kingdom, but the 
persuasion that God had graciously accepted and for 
given them. The doctrine is cited only to show that 
the cardinal article of all true religion, the confession 
that was habitually made morning and evening by 
every Jew, had not of itself any saving power. If 
it could save, the demons would be saved. 


The writer now seeks to show that the view 
which he maintains is confirmed by Scripture (vv. 20 ~ 26 ), 
and adduces in evidence the instances of Abraham 
and Eahab. Speaking now in his own name, and 
addressing the upholder of the opposite view, he asks 
triumphantly whether his opponent is willing to 
listen to the testimony of Scripture, that faith without 
works is fruitless. He introduces his Scripture in 
stances by the words, " Art thou willing to recognise, 
empty man, that faith without works is fruitless ? " 
The man who maintains such a view is called empty 
because of his want either of spiritual insight or of 
spiritual endowments; possibly the former, as he is 
immediately convicted of ignorance of Scripture. 
The faith which before was designated c dead is here 
designated fruitless. Both epithets are nearly 
synonymous. Faith is described either as negligent, 
that is, failing to perform its due labour, or as un 
fruitful, not producing what it should. Perhaps the 
latter image was present to the mind of James. He 
may have been thinking of the fruit of a tree, or of the 
interest of gold or silver. True faith should exhibit 
a profit, but this faith exhibits no profit. Now comes 
the other proof from Scripture. That faith without 
works is dead, is clear from the case of Abraham. He 
was justified by works when he laid the greatest of 
all sacrifices, that of his son, upon the altar of God. 
" You see," concludes James, " that faith wrought with 
his works, and by works was faith made perfect. And 
the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham 


believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for 
righteousness : and he was called the friend of God." 
The inference that faith helped or wrought along 
with the works of Abraham is hardly what would 
have been expected. A clause similar to that in the 
second half of the verse, showing the relation of works 
to faith rather than of faith to works, seems the more 
natural. Why then is faith here represented as 
acting along with works ? And what is the kind of 
service which it is supposed to render ? Faith is 
probably thus described, because James wished to set 
it forth as a living and active power. It was impos 
sible for Abraham s faith to remain unproductive. It 
sought embodiment, and it attained completion in the 
sacrifice of his son. It is not to be supposed that the 
works had, as it were, taken independent action, and 
that faith came to their assistance. Such an inter 
pretation is, indeed, tenable, and is possibly the most 
obvious, but it is not in harmony with the rest of the 
Epistle. James, equally with his opponents, acknow 
ledged the necessity and value of faith. The difference 
between them lay in their conception of its nature, 
and especially of its relation to the Christian life. 
Faith with James never came properly into existence 
until it embodied itself in some form or another of 
Christian obedience. Hence he adds that by means 
of works faith was made perfect. Abraham s was no 
inert faith ; it enabled him to perform his great work 
of self-sacrifice. Only, however, through this act of 
self-sacrifice was his faith brought to perfection. Faith 


is ever defective where works are wanting. It 
attains completion only by means of works. James 
is speaking of the actual influence of works upon 
faith, and not merely of any indication or proof that 
Abraham s faith was complete. Faith and works are 
so related that faith becomes perfect or complete only 
through works. Accordingly, James argues, the 
passage in Genesis (15 6 ) which speaks of Abraham s 
faith was fulfilled. The phrase " he was called the 
friend of God " is not found in the O.T. text, Hebrew 
or Greek. It is first found in a version of Genesis 
18 17 given by Philo (de Solr. M. i. 401). The LXX 
has servant where Philo has friend. There are 
two places in the LXX (2 Ch 20 7 and Is 41 8 ) where 
Abraham is spoken of as " beloved of God." It is 
possible that these passages told upon the mind of 
James, and led him to speak of Abraham as called the 
friend of God. But, whatever the source of the 
expression, it must not be detached from what 
precedes, " was reckoned unto him for righteousness." 
The two phrases are identical in signification. They 
do not designate diverse acts, but one and the same act 
on the part of God. Nothing in the quotation suggests 
that Abraham s faith was first of all imputed for right 
eousness, and that at a subsequent date, on account of 
his works, he received the title " friend of God." This 
is to force upon the language of James a meaning, 
derived from theological presuppositions, which would 
never dawn on the mind of an ordinary reader. 
Moreover, the sense put upon the language is incon- 


sistent with the view of the relation of faith and 
works which James expounds. Nothing is plainer 
than that James recognises in the offering of Isaac 
the justification of Abraham, and sees in that act the 
fulfilment of the passage which spoke of faith being 
reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 

A new question arises, In what sense is justifica 
tion to be understood ? Is it to be taken in its usual 
sense of a declaration on the part of God ? Or may 
it possibly bear the meaning, to show or prove to be 
righteous ? That the verb can bear this meaning need 
not be doubted. But that such an interpretation is 
opposed to the text can hardly be questioned. What 
James has in view is undoubtedly the verdict of God 
upon man. He is not concerned with the evidence 
that man can furnish to man of his justification, but 
with the sentence that God Himself passes on a man s 
moral state. When he speaks of the justification of 
Abraham, he is thinking not of the estimate passed by 
men, but of the estimate passed by God upon his 
character. Accordingly justification, here as else 
where in all similar passages, must be understood of 
a sentence or judgment on the part of God. 

But when is the sentence of which James speaks 
passed ? It is contended that the date is that of the 
final judgment. Man is not pronounced just until he 
stands before the bar of Jesus Christ; he receives 
sentence, then, in accordance with his obedience or 
disobedience to the Law of God. He is acquitted or 
condemned on the ground of his works. This is 


declared to be the teaching of the entire N.T., and is 
held to be unquestionably the doctrine of James. 
For what James speaks of throughout is final salva 
tion, and that salvation is determined only at the last 
judgment. This is a seductive view, more especially 
because it seems to afford the easiest of all methods of 
reconciling the teaching of Paul and James regarding 
justification, Paul speaking of a sentence pronounced 
by God at the very beginning of the Christian life, 
and James of a sentence pronounced at the final 
judgment. But there is one insuperable objection to 
it. The instance quoted by James refers to a decision 
by God, passed during the lifetime of Abraham. And 
hence the judgment spoken of cannot be the final 
judgment. No ingenuity can get over the plain 
statement that Abraham was justified by works when 
he offered his son, and this statement fixes the time 
of his justification. 

From the example of Abraham the inference follows 
(2 24 ) that a man is justified by works and not by 
faith only. James denies that a man can be justified 
by faith alone. He does not decline to allow to faith 
any part or function in justification. But faith alone, 
he contends, never justifies. The sentence passed by 
God has never respect to faith exclusively. 

That justification takes place through works is 
also, according to James, plain from the case of Eahab. 
She was justified by her reception of the spies and 
the provision she made for their safety. What was 
true of the founder of the nation was equally true of 


a woman standing in sharpest contrast to him. Her 
care for the spies led to her acquittal by God. Here, 
too, the date of the justification must be within the 
lifetime of the person referred to. James evidently 
contemplates a sentence contemporaneous as it were 
with the instance of obedience to which he refers. 
God justified Eahab when she saved the lives of the 
spies. In connection with the case of Eahab, James 
sums up his view of faith and works in the remarkable 
statement, that as a body without the spirit is dead, 
so also faith without works is dead. The sense of 
these words appears plain. Yet their plain sense 
has been persistently neglected. The words cannot, 
it is said, bear the meaning which they at once 
suggest. It is impossible that James could have com 
pared faith to the body and works to the soul, for 
their relation is just the opposite. Faith is the soul, 
and works the body ; and this James intended to say 
and must be understood to say. But had such been 
his intention and endeavour, why did he write as he 
has done ? He has never any difficulty in making his 
meaning clear. Why should he have left it ambiguous 
in this case ? Nay, why should he have said the very 
opposite of what he meant ? To affirm that James 
does not mean to compare the body to faith and the 
spirit to works, but simply to state that faith apart 
from works resembles the body to which the spirit 
is wanting, is to do obvious violence to his words. 
Nor is it permissible to identify the works here spoken 
of directly with love. James means what he says, 


and says what he means. Works are to him the soul 
of which faith is the body. His view throughout this 
passage is not that faith is the soul of works, but 
rather that works are the soul of faith. Undoubtedly 
he recognised the living energy of true faith, but this 
living energy is to him developed and perfected by 
means of works. Faith detached from works is not 
Christianity. Faith with him is inseparably connected 
with and embodied in works. It only becomes mature, 
complete, perfect, and therefore true and real, by means 
of works. 

It is clear, however, from the manner in which 
James refers to faith elsewhere, that he regarded it 
as the source of Christian actions. His use of the 
term faith except in this passage would never 
suggest that he viewed it otherwise than the re 
maining writers of the N.T. Nor, in truth, does his 
usage differ from theirs. Faith with him as with 
them is the characteristic feature of the Christian. 
Its object is Jesus as our Lord (2 1 ). By means of 
it the prayer which is heard is offered (5 15 I 6 ). 
It is the fundamental Christian grace or quality 
(I 3 2 5 ), and whatever perfects it, however adverse, 
is to be welcomed (I 3 ). James, in fact, takes for 
granted that his readers are familiar with faith as the 
active principle of the Christian life, and it was only 
the knowledge that this principle was misconceived 
and abused that led him to write the famous para 
graph in chap. 2. It has been argued that his con 
ception of faith is not uniform. But there is no 


evidence that James himself was conscious of any 
inconsistency, nor can any such inconsistency be 
proved. Could he possibly have written the section 
in chap. 2 without examining his own usage in the 
rest of the letter ? Whether he is consistent or not 
in his employment of the term, it must be taken for 
granted that he believed himself to be so. Nowhere 
does he define faith, nor, except in one case, specify 
its object ; but this one specification is enough to 
make his message plain. Faith was with him, as 
with every Christian, faith in Christ. To refer the 
object of faith, in the other cases in which he uses 
the term, to God exclusively, and as separate from 
Christ, is improper. James cannot have separated 
faith in God and faith in Christ, as is clear from the 
opening words of his Epistle. 

Is it legitimate to infer James notion of faith 
from the fact that he allows a dead faith to be faith, 
and to argue that his notion of faith must unite the 
two possibilities of being alive or dead ? Is this 
notion to be found in the conviction of the reality of 
supersensuous facts and blessings ? (Beyschlag, i. 259). 
Such a conviction, it is affirmed, may be living and 
operative, or dead and inactive. But this observation 
applies to every definition of faith where intellectual 
recognition is separated from moral obedience. May 
it not have been that James was unwilling to challenge 
a current use of the term faith ? He was dealing 
with men who were nominal Christians, and who as 
such professed to have faith. Their creed was sub- 


stantially orthodox, but they depended for their 
salvation on their adherence to their creed, and not 
on their obedience to its precepts. James was not 
prepared to describe intellectual assent as false, for 
viewed in itself such assent is an element in faith. 
He preferred to speak of it as imperfect or immature. 
It was dead and not living, and hence could not save. 
How then does James conceive the relation between 
faith and works ? Does he regard them as two co 
ordinate powers standing beside each other, of unequal 
value, and between which no real union can exist ? 
Is it impossible to hold that with James works pro 
ceed from faith ? The acknowledgment by James of 
a dead or fruitless faith is said to destroy the indis 
soluble connection between faith and works (Holtz- 
mann, NT Theol. ii. 333). This statement must be 
accepted so far as the relation between dead faith 
and works is concerned. But James nowhere affirms 
that this dead faith is faith as known to him. On 
the contrary, all that he states regarding it shows 
that he does not recognise it to be Christian. It is 
destitute of all religious value, because morally un 
fruitful. But this condemnation of an unfruitful faith 
only proves the more decisively that faith as conceived 
by James was essentially fruitful. The condemnation 
of a dead faith is meaningless save in connection with 
the approval of a living faith. And this living faith, 
by its very definition, is fruitful. Accordingly, while 
it is legitimate to infer, from James use of faith to 
denote even dead faith, that no necessary connection 


exists between such a faith and works, it is illegiti 
mate to infer that in his view of the faith that is not 
dead there is no necessary connection between it and 
works. All the references to faith, apart from the 
second chapter, prove that he regarded it as a living 
principle, and therefore as the source of a moral life. 
Faith, indeed, did not exist with him until embodied 
in act ; but, having thus attained maturity, it became 
ever after a spring of moral energy. Had James 
merely regarded faith as a calm religious state, as a 
mere conviction of God s purpose of salvation, he 
could not have spoken of that faith as inconsistent 
with respect of persons, nor could he have character 
ised it as the fundamental power of Christianity. 



assertion has been made that the Epistle 
J- of James was originally a purely Jewish 
production, but that afterwards two specifically 
Christian passages were added, and thus the book 
became current within the Church (Spitta, Der Brief 
des Jakobus). 

According to this view, the two places in which 
the name of Jesus appears are interpolations. The 
first of these is Ja 2 1 : " My brethren, hold not the 
faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with 
respect of persons." Here the words " our . . Jesus 
Christ" (r)/jLo)v . . Irjo-ov Xpicrrov) are said to have 
been added by a Christian who desired to adapt the 
book for use within the Church. The well-known 
difficulty of the passage is dwelt upon, and that 
difficulty is declared to be removed when the words 
just quoted are removed. There is left the exhor 
tation, " Hold not the faith of the Lord of glory 
with respect of persons." This language is readily 
understood of God, to whom it is applied in the 
Book of Enoch (40 s 63 2 81 s ). The specifically 
Christian phrase may then with confidence be re- 



jected as an obvious addition to the original. To 
discuss seriously an argument of this sort, even 
though coming from the pen of a scholar, is only 
expedient because an examination of the hypothesis 
brings out into full relief the true character of the 
Epistle. The very difficulty of the expression is 
surely of itself a proof of genuineness. Eegarded 
as original, it can be explained with ease. But what 
account of it can be given if it is referred to the pen 
of a Christian reviser ? Is it conceivable that a 
reviser should have so altered the passage as to make 
its interpretation precarious and hard ? This it is 
impossible to believe. Again, had the addition been 
made by the reviser, the pronoun our would hardly 
have been employed. Its presence is intelligible if 
it came from the pen of the original author. But the 
improbability that a later reviser added the phrase 
" Jesus Christ " is increased by the supposition that 
he inserted also the pronoun our. Nor is any 
support for the hypothesis derived from the context. 
For, to say the least, the exhortation to Christians 
not to unite faith in Jesus Christ with respect of 
persons, is as appropriate as the same counsel 
directed to Jews. A new section of the Epistle opens 
with the second chapter, and no connection is estab 
lished by the writer between visiting the fatherless 
and widows in their affliction and the absence of 
respect of persons. Further, to assume that the 
language of 1 P I 17 : "If ye call on him as Father, 
who without respect of persons judgeth according to 


each man s work," is substantially identical with 
Ja 2 1 , and that, consequently, the reference in 
James is to God and not Christ, is mere caprice. 
Besides, it may be asked, was the original author 
likely to employ a phrase not found in the Old 
Testament ? Can it be shown that he had read the 
Book of Enoch, or that the phrase in question was 
current when he wrote ? To raise minor difficulties 
of this kind is, however, superfluous in view of the 
essential incredibility of the hypothesis under dis 

Still less successful, if that is possible, is the 
endeavour to show that the words " of the Lord 
Jesus Christ " in the address of the letter were added 
by a Christian reviser. The phrase " a servant of 
God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" is admittedly 
unique in the New Testament, and this uniqueness 
is taken to be a proof that the phrase is an interpola 
tion. But does it not demonstrate exactly the 
opposite ? Would an interpolator have devised an 
absolutely novel form of expression ? Is it not the 
case that interpolations are almost invariably the 
completion, by the addition of one or more words, of 
current modes of statement in their fullest shape ? 
Only an interpolator of a most unusual stamp would 
introduce into the superscription of a letter an 
absolutely new designation. 

The conjecture, then, that the two passages in 
which the name of our Lord appears are interpolations 
may be dismissed, as the reasons alleged in its favour 


are worthless. Even had the evidence for it been of 
some weight, absolutely decisive considerations could 
have been advanced against it. Is it conceivable 
that a Christian interpolator would have been 
satisfied with making these two additions only to a 
work which he knew to be Jewish in spirit and 
substance ? No trace of any other changes made by 
him can be discovered (Spitta, 9). Had the inter 
polator wished to adapt the work to Christian ends, 
he must have caused it to assume a genuinely 
Christian aspect. No possible reason can be assigned 
why he should have made only the two additions 
named, leaving the Jewish character of the work un 
altered. The only circumstance that could have induced 
him to make no change is the fact that the rest of the 
work was, as it stood, adapted to his purpose, that is, 
that it did not bear a specifically or exclusively 
Jewish character. This view is undoubtedly true, 
but it is fatal to the hypothesis in question, which 
postulates the intrinsically Jewish character of the 
work. The interpolator then, unless destitute of 
knowledge and capacity, if he did not transform the 
letter, must have regarded it as it stood as sufficiently 
Christian for his purposes. 

But the assertion that the two passages quoted are 
the only Christian passages in the letter is wholly 
baseless. There are others which require a Christian 
explanation. Such are the phrases " the honourable 
name by which ye are called " (2 7 ) ; " Of his own 
will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that 


we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures " 
(I 18 ); "the perfect law, the law of liberty" (I 25 ); 
"the implanted word" (I 21 ); "the coming of the 
Lord" (5 7 ); "our God and Father" (I 27 3 9 ) ; "the 
elders of the Church " (5 U ) ; " anointing him with 
oil in the name of the Lord " (5 U ). 

Then, again, it may be asked, Could or would a 
Jew have written as the author of the Epistle writes 
regarding faith and works, regarding the duty of the 
elders, and regarding oaths ? Are any Jewish circles 
known to which the discussion on faith and works 
might have been addressed ? Did Jewish elders ever 
anoint with oil in the name of the Lord ? Would 
a Jew have interdicted the use of the oath ? 

Further, did the name James stand in the original 
address ? If so, who was the writer ? What led 
him to address the Twelve Tribes in the Dispersion ? 
Why has his name perished ? Again, if the name 
was introduced by the Christian interpolator, why 
did he select James ? The only possible explanation 
is that it was because of his eminence in the Church. 
But is it conceivable that a Christian should have 
made such a use of the name of James ? Would 
such a reviser have been satisfied with merely adding 
the name of Jesus in two places to a Jewish writing ? 
Would he not have felt himself bound to give the 
whole letter the appearance of having come from 
the pen of James ? 

Moreover, how did it come to pass that the letter 
was accepted by the Christian Church ? Was the 


Church deceived by it ? Had it no means of learning 
whether James the brother of the Lord had written 
to the Jews of the Dispersion or not ? Such a theory 
attributes to the members of the primitive Church 
an ignorance and incapacity almost incredible. From 
the first the Christians were acquainted with the 
origin and history of the books which they read in 
public worship. Again, if the letter really presented 
the Jewish features alleged, how is its reception 
within the Church to be explained ? How, too, its 
retention ? Has the Church during all these centuries 
erred in the judgment which it has passed upon it ? 
It is undeniable that, had its exclusively Jewish 
character been discerned by the Church, it would 
never have found a place within the Canon ; but that 
character, as we have seen, exists only in the mind of 
a scholar, and does not belong to the letter itself. 

The truth is, that the Epistle from first to last is 
pervaded by the spirit of Christianity. This has 
been the conviction of the Church in all ages. It 
stands on the same moral height as the other writings 
of the New Testament. Its ethical standards and 
demands are the same as theirs. When it is read 
along with the remaining contemporaneous Jewish 
literature, its measureless superiority is at once 

It is only slaying the slain to call attention to 
the impossibility of explaining, on this hypothesis, the 
relationship which undoubtedly exists between the 
Synoptic Gospels and the First Epistle of Peter and 


the Epistle of James. The supposition that the 
Synoptic Gospels and the Epistle of Peter drew, like 
the author of the Epistle of James, from common 
Jewish sources, can be entertained by no capable 
judge. The author of the Epistle of James breathed 
the same spiritual atmosphere, and was familiar with 
the same teaching as the compilers of the Synoptic 
Gospels, and the resemblance between First Peter 
and James is most simply explained by the depend 
ence of the one letter on the other. 



A N examination of the Epistle of James and the 
"- 1st Epistle of Peter brings to light a series 
of resemblances. Taken separately these might be 
considered accidental, but in view of their number 
they can hardly be so regarded. It is therefore 
probable that the one writer had seen the letter of 
the other. If, as seems likely, the Epistle of James 
is the earlier, Peter consequently makes use of that 
letter. But the use he makes of it is quite 
independent. He applies expressions found in the 
Epistle of James in his own way and with full com 
mand of his materials ; He is never a mere copyist. 
Even when derived from others, the language he uses 
has been made his own by being passed through his 
own mind and stamped as it were with his image. 
To assume (as is done by J. B. Mayor, St. James, 96) 
that Peter took the Epistle of James as his model, 
but engrafted on it a more Christian doctrine which 
he shared with Paul, is quite gratuitous. The tone, 
structure, and contents of the two Epistles vary 
widely. At most it can be said that the Epistle of 
James may have suggested certain phrases to Peter. 



To suppose that Peter of set purpose expanded the 
language of James (Mayor, 96), or that he corrects and 
supplements his O.T. quotations (97), is to do injus 
tice to the origin and life of the Epistle. The affinity 
between Ja I 2 and IP I 6 - 7 , more particularly the 
phrases "manifold temptations" and "the proof of 
your faith," is evident. But it is improper to assume 
that Peter s qualifying phrase " being put to grief if 
need be " is intended to soften the uncompromising 
Stoicism of James " count it all joy." Both phrases 
are forcible and natural in their context, and neither 
needs the other for its explanation. Again, James 
" begat He us with the word of truth " may have sug 
gested 1 P, I 23 : " Having been begotten again, not of 
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word 
of God, which liveth and abideth." These and similar 
affinities (Ja I 21 , 1 P 2 1 - 2 , Ja I 12 , 1 P 5 4 , Ja 4 6 - 10 , 
1 P 5 etc.) are to be explained by the course of 
thought of each writer, and not by any desire to 
render clearer or fuller the statements of the other. 
Still more incongruous is the suggestion that 1 P 2 21 
substitutes the tone of the N.T. for that of the Old 
(Ja 5 10 ). Such a recondite explanation is unnecessary 
to explain comparisons so obvious and so pertinent. 
The more carefully the similarities between the two 
Epistles are studied, in the light of their purpose and 
destination, the more unsatisfactory and repugnant 
becomes the opinion that Peter reviewed the Epistle 
of James in order to adapt it for a special class of 
readers. (Mayor, 99.) 



TT is generally conceded that the Epistle to the 
-- Eomans and the 1st Epistle of Peter exhibit 
such relationship to the Epistle of James as can be 
explained only by their being dependent the one on 
the other. The author of the Epistle of James either 
knew Romans and 1st Peter, or the authors of Eomans 
and 1st Peter in turn knew the Epistle of James. 
The historical question, which of these Epistles was 
first written cannot be regarded as finally decided. 
At the present moment it is true that the majority of 
scholars hold the Epistle of James to be prior alike 
to Romans and to 1st Peter; but there are some 
scholars eminent for sobriety and insight of judgment 
who believe that the date of James is certainly later 
than that of the Epistle to the Romans and possibly 
also than that of 1st Peter. Under these circum 
stances, even taking literary dependence for granted, 
no conclusion can be drawn as to the existence of the 
Epistle of James. Nor can the literary dependence 
be regarded as indisputable. The points of affinity 
between the Epistles may be admitted, and yet literary 
dependence rejected. It cannot be said that the 



resemblances are of a kind absolutely to compel the 
belief that the writers must have seen one another s 

The same argument applies still more strongly to 
the alleged relationship between the Epistle of James 
and other N.T. writings. The connection in the 
latter case is much more remote than in the case of 
the Epistle to the Eomans and 1st Peter. The 
earliest traces of the letter are found in the Epistle 
of Clement, written from Rome to Corinth about 
96 A.D. The references and allusions are not abso 
lutely free from doubt, and several scholars have 
declared them to be inconclusive. At the same 
time, the vast majority of scholars acknowledge the 
dependence of the letter of Clement on that of James. 
And this opinion rests unquestionably on a solid 
basis. It is true that the mere mention of 
Abraham as the friend (of God), (10 17 ), does not 
show that Clement had read Ja 2 23 , for Philo had 
already (de Sdbr. 11) used the same expression, and 
it may have been a current phrase. But the character 
of his observations regarding Abraham suggests that 
he was familiar with the Epistle of James. The title, 
Friend of God, is spoken of as a designation given him. 
His faith is said to be exhibited in his obedience (10). 
The language of Gn 15 6 is quoted as in James, and 
mention is made of the sacrifice of Isaac as an act 
of obedience. The instance of Eahab s salvation 
might have occurred to Clement independently, or 
could have been derived from He II 31 . But the 


reason which he assigns for her salvation (12), namely, 
her faith and hospitality, renders it probable that he 
is here seeking to unite in the same clause the faith 
of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews with the 
works of James. The allusion (21) to those who 
boast in the arrogance of their words is probably a 
reminiscence of Ja 4 16 : " Ye boast in your arrogances." 
The words " God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace 
to the humble," are cited by Clement (30) as they 
appear in Ja 4 6 and 1 P 5 5 and not in the exact 
language of the LXX (the LXX has Kvpw for 0eo?. 
But James and Peter have the article o before 0eo?, 
while Clement has not). Here several possibilities 
lie open. Clement may not be indebted either to 
James or Peter, but may have followed a text current 
in his age. Yet, that he was influenced by the 
Epistle of James is likely, because, shortly after, he 
proceeds to speak of being justified by works and not 
by words (cf. Ja 2 21 - 24 ). Again, the exhortation (38), 
" Let the wise display his wisdom not in words but 
in good works," at once recalls Ja 3 13 : " Who is wise 
and understanding among you 1 let him show by 
his good life his works in meekness and wisdom." 
So, too, the quotation (49), "Love covers a multitude 
of sins," which may be derived from either Ja 5 20 or 
1 P 4 8 , is doubtless to be referred in part to James, 
as Clement proceeds in the next chapter to describe 
love as a means of obtaining pardon for ourselves just 
as James does. 

Further, the dependence of Clement on James is 


shown by his endeavour to combine the teaching of 
Paul and James regarding justification. It is almost 
certain from his language on this subject that he has 
two authorities before him, and these two could hardly 
have been other than Paul and James. Abraham, he 
declared, was blessed because he wrought righteous 
ness and truth through faith (31). "We are not 
justified through our own wisdom, or understanding, 
or piety, or works, which we wrought in holiness of 
heart ; but through faith." " Still we must hasten to 
accomplish every good work" (32, 33). For his 
faith and hospitality a son was given to Abraham in 
his old age (10), and " Rahab was saved because of 
her faith and hospitality" (12). It is apparent from 
these passages that the writer is under the influence 
of two systems of doctrine, and that he is anxious to 
do justice to both by preserving a due balance between 
them. His position as the chief ruler of a com 
munity in which the two types of opinion existed, 
or at any rate his own knowledge of these two types, 
furnishes the only satisfactory explanation of his lan 
guage. Cf. Lightfoot, Clement, i. 96 ; Westcott, Canon, 

It may therefore be taken as reasonably certain 
that the Epistle of Clement is dependent on the 
Epistle of James. The fact of an affinity between 
the letters can hardly be denied, and is, indeed, 
admitted by writers of very different schools. Some 
of the scholars, however, who reject the authenticity 
of James seek to explain the resemblance between the 


letters in one or other of two ways. One method 
is to treat the letters as produced under the same 
circumstances. They are said to belong to the same 
date, and are therefore similar. But this explanation 
is wholly unsatisfactory. It explains the likeness, but 
not the unlikenesses between them. Who can read 
the two letters without perceiving this great and 
obvious dissimilarity ? The tone of the writers, the 
readers they have in view, the circumstances in which 
they live, differ widely. 

A second explanation (Harnack, Ckron. 485) with 
greater plausibility traces their kinship to the supposed 
sources of the Epistle of James. But these supposed 
sources are a fiction devised to explain away un 
welcome facts, and have no existence except in the 
brain of their author. 

The Shepherd of Hernias, like the Epistle of Clement, 
was written in Kome. Its date is probably about the 
middle of the second century, and its relationship to 
James is unquestionable. The likeness can be impugned 
only by the superficial student. Undoubtedly the 
points of contact are not such as at once arrest the eye. 
This is rendered impossible by the character of the 
Shepherd, to the purpose of which direct quotations 
and references were foreign (Taylor, Journal of PhiloL 
xviii. 297). But the more closely the Shepherd is 
scanned, the more frequent and the more numerous 
are seen to be the coincidences in thought and even 
in language between it and the Epistle of James. 
The ethical temper of Hernias is akin to that of 


James. Both writers enforce duty more than they 
expound truth. Both attach the highest value to 
prayer, and regard faith as its soul. Both condemn 
repeatedly the divided heart. Both have the relation 
of the rich and poor statedly in view. Both censure 
luxury. Both feel for the widow and the orphan. 
It is impossible to examine with care any of the 
fuller lists of the related passages (cf. that in Mayor s 
James) without concluding that the relationship of 
the writings is close and great. That the dependence 
is on the side of Hermas and not on that of James 
(Pfleiderer, Urchr. 868) need not be argued. Who 
can believe that any man after reading the Shepherd 
could have written the letter of James ? 

To the testimony of Clement and of Hermas there 
should perhaps be added that of Justin Martyr, as 
much of his active life seems to have been spent in 
Eome. There are at least three places in his writings 
which reveal acquaintance with the Epistle. Our 
Lord s words forbidding the use of the oath are 
quoted by him (Apology, i. 16) in the form in which 
they appear in Ja 5 12 , which differs slightly from that 
found in Mt 5 34 " 37 . The demons, he affirms (Trypho, 
49), shuddered at Christ, an assertion which at once 
recalls the words of Ja 2 19 : " The demons also believe 
and shudder." Again, the history of the temptation 
of Eve is told in language which is closely akin to 
that of the history of temptation as given by Ja I 16 : 
" Eve, when she had conceived the word coming from the 
serpent, bore transgression and death" (Tryplw, 100). 


Clement, Hernias, and Justin bear witness to the 
use of the Epistle in Eome during the first half of 
the second century. Only the more remarkable, 
therefore, is the circumstance that it is not named in 
the Muratorian Canon, which dates from the end of 
that century, and which furnishes a list of the books 
read at public worship in the Church of the capital. 
Nor did it find a place among the works recognised 
by Tertullian. The question has been raised whether 
a Latin Bible existed in his time, or whether he made 
his translations direct from the Greek original. But, 
however this question be determined, it seems clear 
that the authorities which he followed, whether Latin 
or Greek, did not contain the Epistle. The Canon 
Mommseninus, belonging to the middle of the fourth 
century and written in Africa, does not contain the 
Epistle. The conclusion then must be drawn that 
the Epistle was not acknowledged in the Churches of 
Kome and Carthage during the third and fourth 
centuries. How is this fact to be reconciled with the 
equally certain fact that the Epistle was known to 
Clement, Hernias, and Justin ? 

To return a perfectly satisfactory answer to this 
question is, in our ignorance of the history of the 
Churches of Rome and Carthage, impossible. It may, 
however, be pointed out that, though the letter was 
known to Clement, Hernias, and Justin, it may not 
have been read in public worship. The possibility, 
indeed, that it was so read must be admitted. On 
the other hand, if it was not so read, its absence from 


the lists already referred to is much more easily 
understood. On the supposition that it was contained 
in what may be called the early Roman Canon, its 
omission is hard to comprehend. Even though it 
were granted that the Roman Church consisted largely 
in the first instance of Jewish Christians, but that in 
course of time the Gentile element became the larger, 
it is not easy to see why the Epistle should have been 
excluded from the Canon. That it was addressed to 
Jewish Christians should not have rendered it less 
popular with the Church of Rome, had it been long 
known and read there. Is it conceivable that it could 
have been excluded in the time of Clement, by which 
date the Gentile element was undoubtedly supreme ? 
Can any reason be given why it should be left out at 
a subsequent date ? What could have induced the 
Roman Church to depose it from its place ? Its 
destination for Jews can hardly have been the reason, 
for, if so, why was it accepted afterwards ? Its con 
tents cannot have been the ground, for these are 
genuinely Christian. Was, then, its apparent contra 
diction of the teaching of Paul the cause ? This reply 
might serve at a later period, but it is questionable 
whether it applies to the end of the second century. 
There is no evidence to show that doctrinal contro 
versies regarding justification had any place in the 
Church of Rome, or even that Paul s theology domi 
nated that Church. It is, accordingly, much easier to 
believe that the Epistle was never used in public 
worship, than to believe that after being read it was 


excluded from the collection of sacred books. Such 
a step, in view of the supposed knowledge by the 
Church of Rome of the authorship of the book and of 
its history, is hardly conceivable. On the other hand, 
it must be allowed that it is difficult to realise how 
a letter by James, and the leader of the Church of 
Jerusalem, known to Clement, should not have 
been publicly read in the Church of Eome. 

In view of the facts already stated, it is not sur 
prising that the Epistle is not mentioned by name 
by Tertullian or Cyprian or Hippolytus. Whether 
Tertullian was acquainted with it must remain an 
open question. It is possible that his emphatic 
repudiation of the opinion that God tempts (de Or at. 8) 
was suggested by the teaching of Ja I 13 : "God tempteth 
no man," and that some of his illustrations in the 
same work (chap. 29) are due to recollections of 
Ja 5 16 - 20 . (Westcott, Canon, 369, holds that he was 
not acquainted with it; Zahn, Gesch. Kan. i. 329, 
leaves the question undecided.) That the Epistle was 
not known to Cyprian is not disputed. The passage 
from Hippolytus which was at one time regarded as 
decisive proof of his knowledge of the book is now 
admitted to be spurious. 

Whether Irenaeus knew the Epistle is also un 
certain. But, on the whole, it may be regarded as 
probable. The form (ffcer. iv. 16. 2) in which he 
quotes the words, "He believed God, and it was imputed 
to him for righteousness ; and he was called the friend 
of God," where the last words are treated as a part 


of the quotation, seems to be derived from Ja 2 23 . 
(So Harvey, Irenceus ; Zahn, EM., and others. On 
the other hand, Keuss, Canon, 106, believes that the 
passage is taken not from James, but from Clement 
of Kome. But this view is improbable, as the quota 
tion in Clement is different from that in Irenseus.) 
It is possible also that the phrases " doers of the words 
of God " and " made the firstfruits of creation " 
(Hcer. iii. 1. 1) are a reproduction of Ja I 18 - 22 . (Cf. 
Zahn, Gescli. Kan. i. 325; Harvey, in loc.) 

To turn now from Kome, Carthage, and Lyons to 
Alexandria. In dealing with the question of Clement 
of Alexandria s acquaintance with the letter, the exact 
force of a passage in Eusebius (HE, vi. 14) must be 
settled in the first place. " Clement in his Hypotyposes, 
to speak generally, has given concise explanations of 
all the canonical Scriptures without omitting the 
disputed books; I mean the Epistle of Jude and the 
remaining Catholic Epistles" (Westcott, Canon, 350). 
This seems explicit testimony to the fact that Clement 
had written on all the Catholic Epistles. But a 
statement of Cassiodorus, the accomplished Prime 
Minister of Theodoric (Inst. Div. Litt. 8), in which he 
asserts that Clement made some comments on the 
canonical Epistles (that is to say, on the 1st Epistle 
of Peter, the 1st and 2nd of John, and the Epistle 
of James) in pure and elegant language, which he 
caused to be rendered into Latin, has been taken to 
disprove the assertion of Eusebius regarding Clement. 
It is generally held that the Latin Adumbrationes, 


contained in the works of Clement, are the notes 
spoken of by Cassiodorus. But there are no notes on 
the Epistle of James. Instead of these appear notes 
on the Epistle of Jude, and hence it has been inferred 
that Cassiodorus wrote by mistake James for Jude, 
and that, further, Clement did not write comments on 
all the Catholic Epistles, but only on four of them. 
Yet both of these results may be pronounced more 
than disputable. To assume an error in the text of 
Cassiodorus is gratuitous, unless it can be shown that 
the translation of Cassiodorus contained all the notes 
of Clement. For that writer does not affirm that 
Clement wrote on no other of the Catholic Epistles 
than the four he names. His language does not 
exclude the view that Clement had published com 
ments on all the seven. Besides, even if Cassiodorus 
had stated that he had caused to be translated all the 
notes of Clement on the Catholic Epistles, it would 
not follow that Eusebius was in error, for some of the 
notes of Clement might have been lost in three hundred 
years. The trustworthiness of Eusebius is so great, 
his means of forming a judgment was so complete, the 
form of his statement is so specific, that it should never 
have been called in question on account of the 
passage in Cassiodorus. Besides, his testimony is 
confirmed by that of Photius (Cod. 109), who in his 
account of the Hypotyposes of Clement states that it 
contained interpretations of the Catholic Epistles ; and 
these words are most naturally understood of the 
entire group of the Epistles. 


The circumstance that it is a matter of dispute 
whether Clement in his writings ever quoted from 
the Epistle cannot be used to impugn the accuracy 
of the statement of Eusebius. For his silence might 
be purely accidental. The best scholars are divided in 
opinion on the point as to whether he refers anywhere 
to the Epistle, and this difference of opinion shows 
that the affinities alleged are somewhat remote. This 
is indeed the case, and there is no instance which 
can be regarded as decisive. Yet the general 
resemblance of not a few passages (see the list in 
Mayor) makes it probable that he was consciously 
or unconsciously affected by the phraseology of the 

Clement s illustrious disciple Origen is the first who 
refers to the Epistle by name. He speaks of it as 
the Epistle " in circulation under the name of James " 
in Joann. t. xix. 6. This phrase may indicate that he 
regarded the authorship of the letter as doubtful. His 
hesitation, if it existed, may have arisen from uncertainty 
as to the writer, or from the different opinions regarding 
it entertained by the Church, or from its contents. To 
what extent difference of opinion prevailed regard 
ing it is unknown, but it possibly existed, and a 
consideration of this kind would natually affect 
the manner in which Origen expresses himself. He 
cites the Epistle elsewhere (Sel. in Ps. 30 6 . 118 153 ) 
without remark. These are apparently the only 
three passages in which he mentions the writer 
by name in his extant Greek writings. In his 


works as translated into Latin he is often made to 
refer to James the Apostle, and in one place to 
James the brother of the Lord (Eo 4 5 ). Alike 
in his original and translated writings he makes use 
of the Epistle. From these facts it appears that 
Origen nowhere, as far as is known to us, expresses 
his own judgment on the Epistle. Perhaps he had 
come to no final decision regarding it. His practice 
was to attach the highest value to those writings only 
which had never been contested. And hence he must 
have assigned a lower place to the Epistle of James 
than to other writings of the New Testament. But 
it may confidently be said that he would never have 
quoted and referred to the book as he does, had he 
held it to be spurious. He doubtless accepted it as 
authentic, but, because of its history, assigned it a 
less lofty position than that which he gave to the 
unquestioned books. 

It only remains to consider the testimony of the 
Syrian Church. Hitherto that testimony has been 
regarded as peculiarly favourable to the Epistle. The 
Peshitta was generally believed to belong to the 
second century, and, as it contained the Epistle, it 
was held that the Church that stood in the closest 
proximity to that from which the Epistle came had 
at once admitted it into its Canon. But recent 
investigation into the history of the Peshitta has 
caused its early date to be questioned, and many 
competent scholars believe that it must be assigned 
not to the second, but to the fifth century. Further 


it has been shown that there was an old Syrian 
Canon anterior to that embodied in the Peshitta, and 
that this Canon contained none of the Catholic 
Epistles. The absence of quotations from the Catholic 
Epistles in the Doctrine of Addai and in the works 
of Aphraates proves conclusively that they, and con 
sequently the Epistle of James, did not find a place in 
the earliest Syrian Canon. 





Gn9 (i . 

. 153 

Mk 15 40 


14 14 . 

. 21 

19 25 . 

. 18 

15 6 . 

. 347 

Lk2 7 . 


15 16 . 

. 310, 329 

2 12 . 

. 46 

18 17 


4 16 . 


22 9 . 

. 311 

5 17 . 

. 26 

Lv 10 4 . 


8 1 


17 7 . 

. . 153 

22 1S . 

. 71 

17 10 . 

. 153 

23 >24 . 

. 231 

17 11 . 

. 153 

Jnl 45 . 

. 45 

17 13 . 

. 153 

2 12 . 

. 14, 22, 43, 45 

17 18 . 

. 153 

7 3 . 

. 58 

18 6-26 

. 154 

7 5 . 

. 59 

Nu 15 57 41 

. . .21 

7 15 . 


Dt 6 4 - 21 

. . . 24 

19 2 - 3 . 


2 Ch 20 7 

. 329 

19 27 . 

. 42 

Ps 30 6 . 

. 357 

Ac II 30 

. 90 

118 153 

. 357 

12 . 

. . .99 

Is 41 8 . 


12 17 . 

. . .93 

Am 9 . 

. 147 

12 25 . 

. 90 

Mt I 18 . 


14 . 

. 127 



15 . , 

. 169 

4 13 . 


15 2 . 

. 138 

534-37 m 

. 351 

15 3 . 

. 130 

6 1 . 

. 312 

15 4 . 

. 254 

12 4 - . 

. 50 ff. 

15 7 . 

. 144 

12 37 . 

. 317 

15 11 . 

. 171 

12 49 . 

. 15 

15 12 . 

. 145 

13 54-56 


15 13-31 

. .146 

1 354-08 

. 54 

15 16-18 

. 147 

13 55 . 

. 9, 15, 22 

15 21 . 

. 150, 162 

25 s4 . 

. 312 

15 22 . 

. 264 

27 M . 

. 18 

15 29 . 

. 151 

Mk 3 20 . 


16 4 . 

. 166, 254 

3 21 . 

47, 48 

21 . 

. 165 

3 31 . 

. 47, 48, 50 

21 25 . 

. 186, 211 

6 1 . 

. 42 

22 . 

. 169 

6 1 6 . 

. 54 

Ro 2 13 . 

. 317 

6 3 . 

18, 22 

2 27 . 

. 312 

6 4 . 

. . . 57 

3 28 . 

. 308 

6 13 . 

. 124 

4 lff - . 

. 279 






R04 1 3 . 

. 305 Ja 2 2 . 

. 118, 278 

4- . 

. 311 ! 2 4 . 

. 299 

4 r> 

. 358 1 2 5 

. 333 

5 3 - 5 . 

. 302 2 . 

. 281, 283 

7^ . 

. 302 J 2 7 . 

. 281, 283, 340 

14 . 

. 186 ! 2 8ff - . 

. 281 

1 Co 4 4 . 

. 317 2 12 . 

. 109, 281 

5 1 13 . 

. 166 

2 14 . 

. 281, 317, 324 

6 18 20 . 

. 166 2 14 17 

. 324 


. ISO 


. . . . 325 

8 1 3 . 

. 166 

2 19 . 

. 351 

8 10 . 

. 178 


. 327 


. 265 

2 21 . 

. 279, 305, 324, 348 

9 5 . 

. 5, 32 

2- :! . 

. 347, 355 

10 . 

. 186 

2 24 

. 331, 348 

10 1 . 

. 279 

2 23 ; 

. 284 


. 166 

2 2 _ 

. 281, 324 

10 18 . 

. 287 

3 1 . 

. 103 

15 . 

. 80 

3- . 

. 319 

15 5 7 . 

, . .87 

3 4 . 

. 103 

15 7 

. 67, 75 

3 !) 

. . . .341 

2 Co 3 24 

. 265 


. 348 

Gall 19 . 

. . .1, 17, 79 

4 ] . 

. 302 

2 . 

. 201, 220, 253 

4 4 . 

. 279, 299 

2 ] . 

. 140 

4 (! . 

. 345, 348 

2 G 

139, 171, 176 


. 345 

2 9 . 

. 139 


. 109, 281 

2 12 . 

.... (. .172 

413 ; 

. 113, 117 

2 14 . 



. 348 

6 16 . 

: . . 287 

5 1 . 

. 117 

1 Ti 4" 



. 120 

He II 13 

. 287 

5 4 . 

. 120, 279, 299 

II 31 . 

.. . . 347 

5 <; . 

. 103 

Jal 1 . 

. 281, 283, 299 

5 7 . 

. 117, 282, 341 

I 2 . 

. 281, 299, 345 

5 10 . 

. 345 

I-- 4 . 

. 302 

5 12 . 

. 281, 351 

! . 

. 333 5 14 . 

. 123, 278, 341 

I 5 . 

. 333 1 5 15 . 

. 319, 333 

I 9 . 

. 116 5 16 . 

. 319, 354 

I 12 . 

. 345 j 5 20 . 

. 348, 354 

I 13 . 

...... 354 1 P I 6 . 

. 345 

I 15 . 

. 351 

I 7 . 

. 345 

I 17 

. 103, 299 

I 17 

. 338 

1 ]8 . 

281, 283, 345, 355 

I 23 . 

. 345 

I- 1 . 

. 341, 345 

2 1 . 

. 345 

I 22 . 

. 103, 355 

2 2 

. 345 

l- >:! . 

. 103, 299 

2 21 . 

. 345 

I 2 . 

. 109, 281, 341 

4 8 . 

. 348 

I 27 . 

. 341 

5 4 . 

. 345 

2 . 

. 291, 333 

5 5 . 

. 348 

2 1 . 

281, 283 333, 337, 339 5 t! . 

. 345 


3 6 3 


AFRICANTTS, Julius, on the choice of 
the rulers of the Church from 
our Lord s brethren, 271. 

Agabus, 92, 206. 

Alphseus, 18. 

Ambrosiaster, 9. 

Annas procures death of James, 
234, 236. 

Antiocb, Church at, contribution to 
Church at Jerusalem, 90, 91. 
Christians at, 113 ; and the 
question of circumcision, 
134, 136 ; attitude towards 
Gentiles, 134 ; membership 
of, 135 ; relations with 
Church at Jerusalem, 136 ; 
Peter in, 188 ff. ; division in, 
185, 190, 197 ; Gentiles and 
Jews in, 192 f. 

Apelles, 12. 

Apostle, history of the term, 80. 

Aramaic, as the language of James 
home, 26 ff. ; in Galilee, 103f. , 
295 f. 

Art. Smalk. on the virginity of 
Mary, 16. 

Ascents of James, 231 ; unrelia 
bility of, 232 f., 247. 

Baedeker on tomb of James, 241. 

Barnabas, 82 ; visits Jerusalem, 
89 f. ; and the Church at 
Antioch, 135 f. ; on circum 
cision, 137. 

Berachoth, 24. 

Beyschlag, 318, 334. 

Bible, Aramaic, a text-book in 
Jewish schools, 27, 28. 

Brothers of our Lord, full or step 
brothers? 4 ff. ; cousins ? 17 ff. ; 
unbelief of the, 7, 53, 60 ff. ; 
list of, in the Gospels, 22 ; 
interfering with Jesus work 
in Capernaum, 47 ; last men 
tioned, 58 ; unity among, 
63 ; married, 63 ; effect of 

crucifixion and resurrection 
on, 67 ; conversion of, 
76 f. 

Cana, miracle at, 45 f. 

Capernaum, 45 ff., 50, 54. 

Cassiodorus referred to, 15, 245. 

Celibacy, sentiment on, among the 
early Christians, 14, 16. 

Christianity and Judaism, relation 
between, 133 ff. 

Christians, persecution of, 79, 119, 
120, 121, 131 ; relation of 
Jewish and Gentile, 113, 
128, 149 ff., 161 ; conformity 
to Mosaic law, 113 ; meet 
by themselves, 114 ; rich 
and poor, 116 ff. ; and the 
courts, 118 f. ; Jewish, 119 f. ; 
in Damascus, 121 ; hostility 
of Pharisees and Sadducees 
to, 122 ; assembly of, called 
a Church, 128. 

Church, Greek Catholic, 16; Roman 
Catholic, 16 ; rich and poor 
in, 116 ; distinguished from 
synagogue, 128 ; elders in, 
128 ; Gentile and Jewish 
sections in, 131 ff., 215. 

Circumcision, debated on at the 
Congress of Jerusalem, 131 ; 
necessity of, 133 ; Church at 
Antioch on, 136f. ; Church 
at Jerusalem on, 137 ; Paul 
on, 137 ; Peter and James 
on, 138 ; Gospel of the, 
141 ff. ; question of imposing 
it on the Gentiles, 149. 

Clement of Alexandria, 9, 15 ; 
on relation of James to 
our Lord, 244 ; on ecclesias 
tical position of James, 244, 
247 ; on death of James, 
247 ff.; and the Epistle of 
James, 355. 

Clement, First Epistle of, 177, 347 ff. 


Clementine Homilies on the posi 
tion of James, 247. 
Clementine Recognitions, on death 

of James, 231 f. 
on position of James, 247. 
sources of the, 248. 
Congress at Jerusalem, 13311 .; 
questions in debate, 133, 

143 ; preparation for, 138 ff., 

144 ; meeting of, 144 ; four 
abstinences, 151 f. ; reasons 
for selection, 153 f.; credi 
bility of Luke s report, 
169 ; prohibitions of, 171 ; 
genuineness of James speech, 
172 ; decision unanimous, 
174 ; decision embodied in a 
letter, 174 ; genuineness of 
decision, 175 f. ; reliability of 
record, 181 f., 293 f. ; date of 
decree, 182 If. ; interpreta 
tion of decree, 184, 196, 199, 
200, 201, 204; date of, 

Dale on conversion of James, 68. 

Dalman, 28. 

Dillmann on Gn 9 6 , 153. 

Edersheim, 30. 

Elders, duties of, in the synagogue, 

123 ff. ; power of healing, 

124 ; origin of, 125 f., 261 f.; 
appointment of, 127 ; in the 
Epistle of James, 123 ff. 

Encyclopaedia Biblica on the 
Council at Jerusalem, 203. 

Epiphanius on James as a step- i 
brother of our Lord, 9, 11 ; ! 
on James as a Nazirite, 34 ; j 
on the death of James, 225 ; \ 
on the Ascents of James, 
231 ; on the charges against i 
Paul, 251. 

Epistle of James, see James, Epistle 

Essenes, 34. 

Eusebius, on the brothers of our j 

Lord, 9, 11. 
on the death of James, 222, ] 

235, 239 f. 
on the throne of James, 242. 

Eusebius, on the ecclesiastical posi 
tion of James, 244, 256. 

on Symeon, bishop of Jeru 
salem, 269. 

on the grandsons of Jude, 271. 

on the Desposynoi, 271. 

on James the Just, 274. 

on Clement of Alexandria and 
the Epistle of James, 355 f. 

Famine, the, at Jerusalem, 90 f. 

Farrar, on Mk 3 21 Mt 12 4 6 , 50 ; on 
the oath of James, 74 ; on 
Paul s visit to Jerusalem, 
83 f. ; on Paul s association 
with the four Nazirites, 214 ; 
on faith and works, 321. 

" Firstborn," 2, 3. 

Form. Concord, on the virginity of 
Mary, 16. 

Galatians, Epistle to, 94. 

Gentiles and the Mosaic law, 1 33 ff. 

Ginsburg on Essenism and Christi 
anity, 42. 

Godet, 46. 

Gospel according to the Hebrews, 

on the oath of James, 36. 
on the appearance of our Lord 

to James, 70 f. 
date of, 73 f. 

Gospel of the Egyptians, used by 
the Naasenes, 246. 

Greek language, in Jewish schools, 
30; in Galilee, 104 f.; in 
certain Epistles, 297. 

Hagiographa, 26. 

Harnack, on James as an apostle, 

on the Gospel to the Hebrews, 


on the preaching of Peter, 263. 
on Epistles of James and Cle 
ment, 350. 

Harvey, 355. 

Hastings Bible Dictionary, 25. 

Hazzam, 25. 

Hebrew in Jewish schools, 26 ff. 

Hedibia, 19. 

Hegesippus, on James as our Lord s 
brother, 10 f. 



on brother and 
cousin, 21. 
on James as a Nazirite, 34, 35, 

37 f. 

on James as an Essene, 41. 
on James as an apostle, 72. 
on the position of James, 88. 
on death of James, 222 ; date 

of, 238, 239 f. 
on Symeon, 269 f. 
on James the Jnst, 274 f. 
Helvetic Confession, 16. 
Hennas, The Shepherd, 350 f. 
Herod, 5. 

Herod Agrippa, 84. 
Hippolytus on James and the 
Naasenes, 246 ; and the 
Epistle of James, 354. 
Holsten on Peter s intercourse with j 

the Gentiles, 192. 
Holtzman,on relation of the Epistles 

of Paul and James, 310 f. 
on faith and works, 335. 
Hort, on James as one of the Twelve, 


on Ac 15 20 , 156. 
on " certain who came from 

James," 192. 

on Paul s last visit to Jeru 
salem, 207. 
on Epiphanius account of the 

Ascents of James, 231. 
on the preaching of Peter, 263. 
on the jurisdiction of James, 

Huther on justification, 318. 

Ignatian Epistles on the origin of 

the bishopric, 252. 
Irenseus and the Epistle of James, 

Izates of Adiabene, 95. 

James (the brother of our Lord), j 
an apostle, 17, 19, 80, 87, 259, j 
266 ff. ; Jerome s theory, 17 ; | 
childhood, 23 ; education, i 
23 ff. ; home life, 31, 42 ff., i 
45 ; a carpenter, 32 ; mar- j 
riage. 32 f. ; asceticism of, 33, 
222, 227; not a Naziritc, 
34 if., 222, 227 f. ; not a 

Pharisee, not a Sadclucee, 
not an Essene, 40 ff., 227; 
conversion, 68 ; oath, 70 ff. ; 
not elected an apostle, 78, 
87 ff. ; position in the Church, 
81, 86 ff., 99 f., 131, 139, 

244, 245, 247, 251 if. ; 
attitude towards Paul, 81 f., 
171 f., 207,220, 291, 301 ff.; 
mind of, 100 ff. ; culture 
of, 105 f. ; Paul s reference 
to, 139, 272 ; on circum 
cision, 140 ff. ; speech at 
Council, 145 f. ; its genuine 
ness, 169 ; in his Epistle. 
173 ; in the Acts, 173 ; 
relations with Peter, 192f.; 
and Jewish law, 219, 273, 
275; called the Just, 222, 

245, 272 ff. ; account of 
death by Hegesippus, 222 ff. ; 
of Hegesippus, 226 ff. ; ac 
count of death by Josephus, 
223 f. ; accused by Annas, 
234, 236 ; date of death, 
237 f. ; place of burial, 240 ; 
throne, 242 ; account of 
death of, in Recognitions, 
249 ; president of the Church 
at Jerusalem, 253, 264 ; esti 
mate of contemporaries, 
272 f. 

James, the son of Zebedee, the 
greater, 18, 19 ; beheaded, 
85 ; brother of John, 253. 

James, the son of Alphseus, the 
less, 18, 19, 245. 

James, the Epistle of, 98 ff. ; date 
of, 98 ; literary character of, 
101 ff. ; Hebraic tone of, 102 ; 
literary indebtedness of, 
105 f. ; attitude towards the 
law, 108 ff. ; readers of, 
277 ff.; date of, 288 ff., 
346 ; on circumcision, 289 ; 
language of, 295 ; a transla 
tion, 295, 299; and the 
Epistles of Paul, 291, 301 ff. ; 
and justification, 305 ff. ; 
faith and works in, 321, 
324 ff.; and 1 Peter, 34 4 f.; 
external evidence for, 346 ff. ; 

3 66 


and other N.T. writings, 
346 ; and the Epistle of 
Clement, 347 ff. ; and The 
Shepherd of Hermas, 350 ; 
not in canon, 352 ff. ; evi 
dence of Fathers on, 352 ff. 
on rich and poor in the syna 
gogue, 115ff. 
on elders, 123 ff. 
on anointing, 124. 
on teachers, 128f. 
to whom addressed, 129 ; 

harmony with Acts, 172. 
Jebamoth, 32. 
Jerome, 17 ff. 

Jerusalem, Church at, 39 ; increase 
of, 79 ; disagreement of, with 
Paul, 82 ; James position 
in, 86 ff., 99; contribution 
to, 90, 209 ; persecution of, 
93 ; relations of, with Church 
at Antioch, 96 f. ; Greek and 
Aramaic in the, 105 ; elders 
in, 126 f. ; relations of, with 
other Churches, 131 f. ; ques 
tion of circumcision in. 
133 f. ; sends Barnabas to 
Antioch, 135 ; and the 
Mosaic law, 136 ff. ; and the 
Congress, 144 ; letter from 
the, to Antioch, 174; Paul 
and the, 179 ; and the de 
cision of the Congress, 182 f. ; 
attitude towards the Gentiles, 
182f. ; visit of Paul to the, | 
206 ff. ; government in the, 

Jesus (our Lord), brothers of, 1 ff. ; 
birth of, 2; "firstborn" of 
Mary, 2 f. ; sisters of, 3, 50 ; 
son of David, 5 ; entrusts 
Mary to John, 6, 64 ; an only 
child, 16 f. ; manner of life, 
36 ; death of Joseph, 42 f. ; 
leaves Nazareth, 43, 45 ; 
first miracle, 43, 45 ; en 
counters hostility at Caper 
naum, 47 If. ; relations with 
family, 47 ff., 55, 61 f.; two 
visits to Nazareth, 54 ; 
enmity of fellow-townsmen, 
56 f. ; popularity waning, 58 ; 

the Messiah, 53, 59 ff., 115 ; 
unbelief of brethren, 60 ; 
crucifixion, 67 ; resurrection, 
67 f. ; appearance to James, 
67 ff. ; appearance to Paul, 
69 ; ascension, 76 ; influence 
on the Epistle of James, 107, 

Jews, Christian, lloff. ; relations 
with Gentiles, 149ff., 185. 

John the Baptist, 38, 39. 

Joseph, 1 ff. passim. 

Joseph the Carpenter, History of, 

Josephus, on the dearth in Jeru 
salem, 91 ; on the death of 
James, 234, 237 ; quoted by 
Origen, 271. 

Joses, 18. 22. 

Jubilees, Boole of, 276. 

Judas the brother of our Lord, 22. 

Judas Iscariot, 78, 88. 

Jude, 21. 

Justin Martyr and the Epistle of 
James, 351. 

Justification, Paul and James on, 
305 if. ; in Epistle of James, 
316ff.; sense of, 330. 

Kalisch on the blood as the life, 

Kingdom of God, 61. 

Law, instruction in the, 26. 

Law of liberty, 110. 

Law, the oral, 29. 

Law, the royal, 112. 

Lechler on James speech at the 

Congress at Jerusalem, 149. 
on Hegesippus narrative of 

James death, 226. 
on James as a Nazirite. 
Lewin on Paul and the four 

Nazirites, 213. 
Lightfoot on the supernatural birth 

of our Lord, 2. 
on James relation to our Lord, 

10, 11. 
on marriage among the Jews, 


on John s relation to Mary, 65. 
on James as an apostle, 72. 



Lightfoot, on the decree of the 
Council, 157. 

on the Clementine Recogni 
tions, 232. 

translation of Eusebius, 244. 

on the jurisdiction of James, 

on James title "Just," 276. 

on Epistle of Clement, 349. 
Lipsius on the death of James, 

Mary, mother of our Lord, 1 ff. ; 
committed to John, 65 If. ; 
her virginity, loff. 
mother of James and Joses, 

18 f. 

Matthias, choice of, 87. 
Mayor on brother as including 

cousin, 21. 
on the appearance of our Lord 

to James, 70. 

on justification, 308 ff. ; on re 
lation of James and 1 Peter, 
344 f. ; on relation of James 
and The Shepherd, 351 ; on 
relation of James and Cle 
ment of Alexandria, 357. 
McGiffert on the enactments of 
the Council at Jerusalem, 
on Paul s part in the Naziiite 

vow, 221. 
translation of Eusebius, 222, 


on the eldership, 262. 
Messiah, 59, 61, 62, 64. 
Mezuza, 24. 
Mishna, 28. 
Muratorian Canon, 352. 

Nazarenes, 84, 85. 

Nazirites, 38, 39. 

Nero, 118. 

Noah, seven precepts of, 154. 

Origcn, on the brothers of our Lord, 

9, 14, 15. 
on James and the Naasenes, 


on James the Just, 274.^ 
on Epistle of James, 357. 

Parousia, 120. 

Paschal Chronicle on date of 

James death, 239. 
Paul, on our Lord s brothers, 5. 
on James as an apostle, 19. 
on the marriage of James, 


conversion of, 79. 
first visit to Jerusalem, 79 ff. 
relations with James, 81, 82, 

138, 220, 301 ff. 
relations with Peter, 81, 82, 

338, 194, 198. 
second visit to Jerusalem, 

89 ff. 
views on circumcision, 137, 

142 ff. 

apostle to Gentiles, 140. 
speech at the Council, 145. 
on the decision of the Council, 

176 ; and justification, 291, 

305 ff.; and council, 313; 

and faith and works, 

320 ff. 

last visit to Jerusalem, 206 ff. 
hostility to, at Jerusalem, 206, 


and Jewish rites, 211. 
and the Nazirite vow, 212. 
in Ascents of James, 232. 
Peshitta, 358 f. 
Peter, reception of Paul in Jerusalem, 

82 f. 

imprisoned, 85. 
speech at the Council, 144. 
visit the Church at Antioch, 

188 f. 
visit of certain from James, 

188 ff. 

relations with James, 192. 
action condemned by Paul, 


bishop of Jerusalem ? 245. 
on the position of James, 247. 
relation of First Epistle of, to 

James, 344 f. 

Ptter, Gospel of, 9, 12, 15. 
L fleiderer, 351. 
Philo on religious education among 

the Jews, 24 ; on Gn 18 17 , 

329, 347. 
Plumptre on Acts 15, 169. 

3 68 


Poor, the, of the Dispersion, 115ff. 
Preaching of Peter on the elder 
ship, 262. 
Protcvangelium Jacobi, on James 

childhood, 5. 
on marriage of Joseph and 

Mary, 9. 
reliability of, 12. 
used by Origen, 15. 

Ramsay, on the date of the famine 

at Jerusalem, 91. 
on the visit of Paul to Jeru 
salem, 195. 
Eechabites, 37 f. 
Kenan on our Lord s relatives in 

the Church, 272. 
Kendall on the enmity of the Jews 

against Paul, 210. 
Resurrection, influence of, on 

James, 68 ff. 
Reuss on Irenseus and the Epistle 

of James, 355. 
Reville on the council of elders, 


Rich, the, of the Dispersion, 115 ff. 
Kitschl on James as bishop, 255. 
Rothe on James speech at the 

Council at Jerusalem, 149. 

Salmon on the position of James in j 

the Church, 248. 
Salome, 66. 
Samson as prototype of James, 33, 

Samuel as prototype of James, 33, 


Sanhedrin, jurisdiction of, 120. 
Sayings of Jewish Fathers on 

Jewish customs, 31, 32. 
Schools, education in Jewish, 

25 ff. 
Schiirer on the Seven Precepts of 

Noah, 154. 
Septuagint, in school, 30. 

accessibility to the, in Galilee, 

citations from the, in James, ! 


Shema, 24. 
Simcox, 300. 
Simon, brother of our Lord, 22. 

Sisters of our Lord, 22, 50 f. 
Smalkald, Articles of, on the 

virginity of Mary, 16. 
Soden, von, on Greeco-Roman ideas 

in James, 103. 
Spitta on the Epistle of James, 

337 ff. 
Stanley on the burial of James, 


Stephen, martyrdom of, 79. 
Symeon, bishop of Jerusalem, 21, 

256, 269 f. 
Synagogue, in James education, 24 ; 

our Lord preaching in, 56 ; 

Jewish, 114 ; Christian, 

113ft .; distinguished from 

Church, 128, 278. 
Syrian Church, and Epistle of 

James, 358 f. 

Talmud, on marriage, 32. 
on the Nazirites, 39. 
Taylor on The Shepherd of Hernias, 

Teachers in the Epistle of James, 

128 f. 
Teaching of the Apostles on the 

choice of elders, 127. 
Tertullian, on our Lord s brothers, 

12 f. 
and the Epistle of James, 354. 

Weiss on Gentile and Jewish 
sections in the Church, 

Weizsacker, on date of the decree 
of the Council at Jerusalem, 

on the eldership, 262. 
Wendt, on the letter of the Council, 

on the decision of the Council 

at Jerusalem, 202. 
on the genuineness of Acts 21, 

Westcott, on "Clement," 349. 

on Tertullian s acquaintance 

with Epistle of James, 354. 
on James and the Canon, 


Wordsworth on the language of the 
Epistle of James, 298. 



Zahn, on the celibacy of James, 33. 

on the appearance of our Lord 

to James, 71. 
on the oath of James, 75. 
on the date of the famine at 

Jerusalem, 91. 
on the enactments of the Council 

at Jerusalem, 162, 164. 
on Josephus testimony to James , Zizith, 24. 
as brother of our Lord, 234 

Zahn, on the episcopal chair of 

James, 242. 
on Jas I 1 , 286. 
on Rom 4 1 3 , 305. 
on Tertullian s acquaintance 

with Epistle of James, 354. 
on Irenseus and the Epistle of 

James, 355. 


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THE following eminent Scholars have contributed, or are 
engaged upon, the Volumes named : 

Literature Of By S. R. DRIVER, D.D., Regius Professor 
of Hebrew, and Canon of Christ Church, 

An Introduction to the 
the Old Testament. 

Christian Ethics. 


History of Christian Doctrine. 

A History of Christianity in the Apostolic 

Christian Institutions. 

The Christian Pastor. 

The Theology of the New Testament. 

The Ancient Catholic Church. 
Old Testament History. 

The Theology of the Old Testament. 
The Literature of the New Testament 

Canon and Text of the New Testament 

Tha Latin Church. 


Contemporary History of the Old Testa 

Contemporary History of the New Testa 

Philosophy of Religion. 

The Study of the Old Testament. 
Rabbinical Literature. 
The Life of Christ. 

Oxford. [Seventh Edition. 123. 

By NEWMAN SMYTH, D.D., Pastor of the 
First Congregational Church, New Haven, 
Conn. [Third Edition. IDS. 6d. 

By the late A. B. BRUCE, D.D., Professor of 
New Testament Exegesis, Free Church 
College, Glasgow. [Third Edition. IDS. 6d. 

By G. P. FISHER, D.D., LL.D., Professor 
of Ecclesiastical History, Yale University, 
New Haven, Conn. [Second Edition. 125. 

D.D., Professor of Church History, Union 
Theological Seminary, New York. [125. 

By A. V. G. ALLEN, D.D., Professor of 
Ecclesiastical History, Episcopal Theo 
logical School, Cambridge, Mass. [125. 

of Congregational Church, Columbus, 
Ohio. [ IOS . 6d. 

fessor of Systematic Theology in Yale 
University, U.S.A. [i 2 s. 

By ROBERT RAINY, D.D., Principal of The 
New College, Edinburgh. [125. 

By H. P. SMITH, D.D., late Professor of 
Biblical History and Interpretation, 
Amherst College, U. S. A. [ 1 2S . 

By the late A. B. DAVIDSON, (D.D., LL.D. 
Edited by Principal SALMOND, D.D. [125. 

By S. D. F. SALMOND, D.D., Principal, 
and Professor of Systematic Theology, 
United Free Church College, Aberdeen. 

fessor in the University of Leipzig. 

Lord Bishop of Exeter. 

By C. A. BRIGGS, D.D., Professor of Biblical 
Theology, Union Theological Seminary, 
New York. 

By FRANCIS BROWN, D.D., Professor of 
Hebrew and Cognate Languages, Union 
Theological Seminary, New York. 

By FRANK C. PORTER, Ph.D., Yale Uni 
versity, New Haven, Conn. 

By ROBERT FLINT, D.D., LL.D., Emeritus 
Professor of Divinity, University of Edin 

By the Right Rev. H. E. RYLE, D.D., Lord 
Bishop of Winchester. 

By S. SCHECHTER, M. A. , Reader in Talmudic 
in the University of Cambridge. 

Margaret Professor of Divinity, and Canon 
of Christ Church, Oxford. 

T. and T. Clark s Publications. 



Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, I. and II. Samuel, Proverbs, Amos and Hosea, 8. Mark, 
S. Luke, Romans, Ephesians and Colossians, Philippians and Philemon, 8. Peter 
and 8. Jude. 

The following other Volumes are in course of preparation : 

Genesis. JOHN SKINNER, D.D., Professor of Hebrew, Westminster College, 


Exodus. A. R. S. KENNEDY, D.D., Professor of Hebrew, University of Edinburgh. 

Leviticus. J. F. STENNINO, M.A., Fellow of Wadham College Oxford ; and the late 

Rev. H. A. White, M.A., Fellow of New College, Oxford. 

Joshua. GEORGE ADAM SMITH, D.D., Professor of Hebrew, United Free Church 

College, Glasgow. 

Kings. FRANCIS BROWN, D.D., Professor of Hebrew and Cognate Languages, 

Union Theological Seminary, New York. 

Isaiah. The late A. B. DAVIDSON, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Hebrew, New 

College, Edinburgh. 

Jeremiah. A. F. KIRKPATRICK, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, and Fellow of 

Trinity College, Cambridge. 

Minor Prophets. W. R. HARPER, Ph.D., President of Chicago University. [Continuation. 

Psalms. C. A. BRIGOS, D.D., Edward Robinson Professor of Biblical Theology, 

Union Theological Seminary, New York. 

Job. S. R. DRIVER, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, Oxford. 

Daniel. Rev. JOHN P. PETERS, Ph.D., late Professor of Hebrew, P. E. Divinity 

School, Philadelphia, now Rector of St. Michael s Church, New 
York City. 

Ezra and Nehemiah. Rev. L. W. BATTEN, Ph.D., Professor of Hebrew, P. E. Divinity School, 

Chronicles. EDWARD L. CURTIS, D.D., Professor of Hebrew, Yale University, New 

Haven, Conn. 

Synopsis of the 

Four Gospels. 





I. and II. 


The Pastoral Epistles. 



The Johannine 




W. SANDAY, D.D., LL.D., Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford ; 
and Rev. W. C. ALLEN, M.A,, Exeter College, Oxford. 

Rev. WILLOUGHBY C. ALLEN, M.A., Chaplain, Fellow, and Lecturer in 
Theology and Hebrew, Exeter College. Oxford. 

FREDERICK H. CHASE, D.D., Christ s College, Cambridge. 
Right Rev. ARCH. ROBERTSON, D.D., Lord Bishop of Exeter. 

Rev. ERNEST D. BURTON, A.B., Professor of New Testament Literature, 
University of Chicago. 

E. H. FRAME, M.A., Assistant Professor of Biblical Literature, Union 
Theological Seminary, New York. 

WALTER LOCK, D.D., Dean Ireland s Professor of Exegesis, Oxford. 
Rev. A. NAIRNE, M.A., Professor of Hebrew in King s College, London. 

Rev. JAMES H. ROPES, A.B., Instructor in New Testament Criticism in 
Harvard University. 

S. D. F. SALMOND, D.D., Principal, and Professor of Systematic Theology, 
United Free Church College, Aberdeen. 

ROBERT H. CHARLES, D.D., Professor of Biblical Greek in the University 
of Dublin. 

Other engagements will be announced shortly. 


T. and T. Clark s Publications. 

Worlb s Epocb^flftafeers. 


An excellent series of biographical studies. Athenaeum. 

We advise our readers to keep a watch on this most able series. It promises 
to be a distinct success. The volumes before us are the most satisfactory books 
of the sort we have ever read. Methodist Times. 

The following Volumes have now been issued: 

Buddha and Buddhism. By ARTHUR 

Luther and the German Reformation. 
By Principal T. M. LINDSAY, D.D. 

Wesley and Methodism. By F. J. 

Cranmer and the English Reforma 
tion. By A. D. INNES, M.A. 

William Herschel and his Work. 

Francis and Dominic. By Professor 

SaYonarola. By G. M HARDY, D.D. 

Anselm and his Work. By Rev. A. 

Origen and Greek Patristic Theology. 

Muhammad and his Power. By P. 

The Medici and the Italian Renais 
M.A., Edinburgh. 

Plato. By Professor D. G. RITCHIE, 
M.A., LL.D., University of St. 

Pascal and the Port Royalists. By 

Professor W. CLARK, LL.D., D.C.L., 

Trinity College, Toronto. 

Euclid. By Emeritus Professor THOMAS 

Hegel and Hegelianism. By Pro 
fessor R. MACKINTOSH, D.D., Lanca 
shire Independent College, Man 

Hume and his Influence on Philo 
sophy and Theology. By Professor 
J. ORR, D.D., Glasgow. 

Rousseau and Naturalism in Life 
and Thought. By Professor W. H. 

Descartes, Spinoza, and the New 
Philosophy. ByProfessorJ. IVERACH, 
D.D., Aberdeen. 

The following have also been arranged for: 

Socrates. By Rev. J. T. FORBES, 
M. A., Glasgow. [In the Press. 

Marcus Aurelius and the Later Stoics. 

By F. W. BUSSELL, D.D., Vice- 

Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford. 

[In the Press. 

Augustine and Latin Patristic Theo 
logy. By Professor B. B. WARFIELD, 
D.D., Princeton. 

Scotus Erigena and his Epoch. By 

Professor R. LATTA, Ph.D., D.Sc., 
University of Aberdeen. 

Wyclif and the Lollards. By Rev. 

The Two Bacons and Experimental 
Science. By Rev. W. J.CoupER,M.A. 

Calvin and the Reformed Theology. 

By Principal SALMOND, D.D., U.F.C. 
College, Aberdeen. 

Lessing and the New Humanism. 

By Rev. A. P. DAVIDSON, M.A. 

Kant and his Philosophical Revolu 
tion. By Professor R. M. WENLEY 
D.Sc., Ph.D., University of Michi 

Schleiermacher and the Rejuven 
escence of Theology. By Professor 
A. MARTIN, D.D., New College, 

Newman and his Influence. By 

C. SAROLEA, Ph.D., Litt. Doc., Uni 
versity of Edinburgh. 

Patrick, William 

2454 James, the Lord s brother